Robin Soderling beats Roger Federer, advances to French Open 2010 Semifinals
Robin Soderling is a French Open giant killer. There will be a Grand Slam semifinal without Roger Federer for the first time in six years
25-year old Swede French Open Upset specialist Robin Soderling stunned world No. 1 and defending champion Roger Federer in the quarterfinals of the French Open 2010. Soderling rallied and won 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in a rainy quarterfinal.
The loss ends Federer’s historic streak of 23 straight appearances in a Grand Slam semifinal.
The shocker was the second pulled off by Soderling in as many years at Roland Garros. He ended the reign of four-time champion Rafael Nadal in the fourth round a year ago, clearing the path for Federer to win his first French Open title and complete a career Grand Slam.
Federer beat Soderling in last year’s final. Before Tuesday, Federer was 12-0 against the big-swinging Swede, winning 28 of their 30 sets.
But Soderling’s recent improvement was evident as he controlled rallies from the baseline with his thunderous strokes. Federer found himself on the defensive and unable to move forward.
“I’m disappointed to a certain degree,” Federer said. “I didn’t think I played a bad match. He came up with some great tennis. It’s much easier to digest this way.”
Seeded fifth, Soderling saved a set point in the third when he won a frantic rally and then won the set to take the lead for good shortly after a rain delay of 75 minutes.
“It cannot be much better,” Soderling told the crowd after his latest center-court stunner. “It’s great to play on this court. It’s for sure my favorite Grand Slam.”
Soderling’s the only player other than Nadal to beat Federer at Roland Garros since 2004. The Swede’s opponent Friday will be No. 15 seed Tomas Berdych, who beat No. 11 Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-1, 6-2. Berdych has yet to drop a set in five rounds.
The semifinal round Friday without Federer will be the first at a Grand Slam tournament since he lost in the third round of the 2004 French Open.
Because of Federer’s defeat, Rafael Nadal will reclaim the No. 1 ranking next week if he wins the title. The upset raises the possibility of a Nadal-Soderling rematch in the final.
The upset was all the more surprising because Federer was in control early. He won 22 of his first 24 service points and led 30-0 in his first service game of the second set when he suddenly faltered, losing four points in a row.
Soderling improved to 5-18 against players ranked in the top three. His only other major semifinal berth was at Roland Garros a year ago.
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