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Archive for the ‘robin soderling’ Category

RG Day 10: Cometh The Time

Posted by gauloises1 on June 2, 2010

I didn’t like Robin Soderling very much in the past. I always thought of him as a somewhat grumpy, slightly odd player who couldn’t control his temper and while that’s exactly my flavour, I wasn’t enchanted enough with his game to root for him in earnest. His match against Nadal at last year’s Roland Garros changed that – not just because he blew the tournament wide open, but because he achieved the impossible and played at what seemed like an inconceivably high level for long enough to beat Nadal in his house, and you have to take notice of that. His emotional reaction to the victory, his run to the final and his behaviour throughout made me like him too, and more and more frequently after that I found myself rooting for him. Still, I’ve kept underestimating him ever since. How often have we seen players have one great season and then fade away? After he lost first round in Melbourne, I expected him to keep right on plummeting, unable to sustain whatever magic he’d found in 2009. I think it’s fair to say he hasn’t.

Robin Soderling d. Roger Federer, 36 63 75 64

How fucking impressive was this? I have to come clean and admit that I missed the conclusion of the match after the rain delay; I had to leave work and by the time I got home it was over and the expletive-worthy Eurosport player only archived the first portion of the match. I’m hoping to catch a repeat tomorrow morning, but in the meantime I’m just going to assume that Robin kept on doing what he did in the second and third sets, which is … what he does; powerful serving, big clean hitting, relentless attacking. He’s done it before against Federer – most memorably at last year’s US Open when he came *this* close to seriously unsettling the defending champion – but whether because he executed better, or because clay gives him just a fraction of a second longer to set up, or because the conditions let him impose more when he let fly as he consistently did, or just because it was his day, it worked. It really quite a lot worked.

I really don’t need to reiterate the magnitude of what he’s achieved; for the second year in a row, breaking a domination that seemed inevitable, turning history and a head-to-head on its … head. But I do want to say why I think I find it so satisfying, and not just because it’s always great to see an underdog win (or because I now have a cool kind of ‘what’s going to happen?!’ feeling about the next few days of tennis, which is always nice). I think it’s because before Roland Garros 2009, Soderling really seemed to have maxed out, not in terms of what he could achieve, but what he was ever going to achieve. After all, don’t we usually assume that once a player has reached their mid-20s without a really big victory to their name that they won’t ever get there, or that if they do they won’t stay long – that they’re lacking whatever crucial element it takes to truly make an impact? One great tournament, fair enough, but it’s usually rapidly followed by a return to their previous level. Soderling, on the other hand, took a huge step up and then kept going; presented himself as a new man and then sustained that transformation, even I think improving over the past twelve months. He interrupted the Fedal dialogue and has now irrefutably made himself part of the conversation, and it’s great not just because I like him, but because I think every fan out there has one or two players that they’ve always believed was capable of more if they could just get their head on straight, shake those niggling injuries, rise to the occasion, put it all together on the day. And Soderling for me really proves that it is possible, it is always possible, not just to reinvent yourself as a contender but to keep on challenging at the highest level. That’s a magnitude of impressive that I don’t have the words for. And I love seeing it.

All of which is to say … pizza and jelly beans in bed, Robin.

You earned it.

Posted in french open, robin soderling, roger federer | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

RG Day Four: Some Stuff

Posted by gauloises1 on May 27, 2010

Lovely Andrea Petkovic led by a set, 5-4 and 40-0 against Svetlana Kuznetsova.

She lost.

Robin dropped just two games to Taylor Dent and looks to be on awesome form (oh please, let that be true!)

Aravane literally doesn’t know the meaning of backing off, and it’s working for her as she survived a tough challenge from Angelique Kerber.

This guy’s playing. In case you didn’t know.

This girl’s playing. In case you care.

Marin is into the third round after playing a mere seven sets. Weird.

The more I have to listen to male journalists snigger and judge about Venus’ dress, the more I love it. Sod them all, she looks amazing.

Say hello to Julian Reister. Before this tournament, he’d played three ATP matches in his career and lost them all. Now he’s beaten Feliciano Lopez and Olivier Rochus and he’s in the third round of Roland Garros. And stuff like this is why I love Slams.

Jo meanwhile put in a beatdown on good buddy Josselin Ouanna …

… and Flavia did the same for Roberta Vinci.

ATP

Singles – Second Round
[1] R Federer (SUI) d A Falla (COL) 76(4) 62 64
[4] A Murray (GBR) vs J Chela (ARG) 62 33 – play suspended
[5] R Soderling (SWE) d T Dent (USA) 60 61 61
[8] J Tsonga (FRA) d J Ouanna (FRA) 60 61 64
[10] M Cilic (CRO) d D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 63 76(4) 62
[11] M Youzhny (RUS) d L Lacko (SVK) 67(8) 63 63 62
[12] T Berdych (CZE) d E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 75 61 64
F Fognini (ITA) vs [13] G Monfils (FRA) 26 46 75 64 55 – play suspended
[17] J Isner (USA) vs M Chiudinelli (SUI) 67(3) 55 – play suspended
[20] S Wawrinka (SUI) d A Beck (GER) 61 64 64
M Granollers (ESP) vs [25] M Baghdatis (CYP) 46 61 75 – play suspended
[29] A Montanes (ESP) d T Kamke (GER) 63 62 61
T de Bakker (NED) d [32] G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 63 36 76(5) 75
L Mayer (ARG) d J Benneteau (FRA) 67(4) 63 64 64
V Troicki (SRB) d C Ball (AUS) 64 63 63
J Reister (GER) d O Rochus (BEL) 62 62 76(5)

Singles – First Round
X Malisse (BEL) d S Greul (GER) 64 76(7) 64

Doubles – First Round
[5] M Bhupathi (IND) / M Mirnyi (BLR) d J Melzer (AUT) / P Petzschner (GER) 63 62
[9] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) d R de Voest (RSA) / D Tursunov (RUS) 63 46 62
[10] J Knowle (AUT) / A Ram (ISR) d A Clement (FRA) / N Mahut (FRA) 75 76(0)
S Gonzalez (MEX) / T Rettenmaier (USA) d [14] R Lindstedt (SWE) / H Tecau (ROU) 64 64
B Becker (GER) / S Lipsky (USA) d [16] E Butorac (USA) / R Ram (USA) 63 57 64
S Greul (GER) / P Luczak (AUS) d J Marray (GBR) / J Murray (GBR) 64 63
J Erlich (ISR) / D Sela (ISR) d S Prieto (ARG) / K Vliegen (BEL) 76(2) 76(4)
L Mayer (ARG) / H Zeballos (ARG) d M Kohlmann (GER) / J Nieminen (FIN) 75 63
D Bracciali (ITA) / P Starace (ITA) d M Damm (CZE) / F Polasek (SVK) 61 63
O Dolgopolov Jr (UKR) / D Istomin (UZB) d V Hanescu (ROU) / G Trifu (ROU) 67(4) 61 75
M Lopez (ESP) / P Riba (ESP) d J Eysseric (FRA) / B Paire (FRA) 62 64
V Troicki (SRB) / D Vemic (SRB) d J Coetzee (RSA) / A Seppi (ITA) 63 64

WTA

Singles – Second Round
(2) Venus Williams (USA) d. Arantxa Parra Santonja (ESP) 62 64
(3) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Tathiana Garbin (ITA) 63 61
(6) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. Andrea Petkovic (GER) 46 75 64
(14) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 61 61
(15) Aravane Rezai (FRA) d. Angelique Kerber (GER) 62 26 63
(19) Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. Agnes Szavay (HUN) 61 62
Polona Hercog (SLO) d. (24) Lucie Safarova (CZE) 61 62
(26) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 46 62 60
(30) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) d. Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) 63 63
(31) Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) d. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 64 62
Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB) d. Johanna Larsson (SWE) 76(2) 62
(Q) Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) d. Gisela Dulko (ARG) 36 63 64

Doubles – First Round
(7) Raymond/Stubbs (USA/AUS) d. Rosolska/Shvedova (POL/KAZ) 76(4) 64
(10) Chan/Zheng (TPE/CHN) d. Amanmuradova/Voskoboeva (UZB/KAZ) 61 61
(12) Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO) d. Borwell/Kops-Jones (GBR/USA) 60 61
(13) Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova (CZE/CZE) d. Chuang/Molik (TPE/AUS) 76(2) 63
(14) Dushevina/Makarova (RUS/RUS) d. Poutchek/Senoglu (BLR/TUR) 67(5) 76(3) 64
(16) Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) d. Bammer/Barrois (AUT/GER) 64 61
Safina/Szavay (RUS/HUN) d. Baltacha/Dekmeijere (GBR/LAT) 61 61
Niculescu/Peer (ROU/ISR) d. (WC) Lefèvre/Védy (FRA/FRA) 64 63
Gallovits/Oudin (ROU/USA) d. Rodionova/Rodionova (AUS/RUS) 63 62
King/Krajicek (USA/NED) d. Olaru/Savchuk (ROU/UKR) 64 63
Brianti/Dulgheru (ITA/ROU) d. Craybas/Pavlyuchenkova (USA/RUS) 61 64

Suspended due to darkness
Jurak/Martic (CRO/CRO) vs. (WC) Feuerstein/Foretz (FRA/FRA) 67(6) 62

Posted in andrea petkovic, aravane rezai, caroline wozniacki, flavia pennetta, french open, jo-wilfried tsonga, julian reister, marin cilic, robin soderling, roger federer, venus williams | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

I Got a Feeling They’re All Going To Regret This

Posted by gauloises1 on May 23, 2010

The Roland Garros karaoke is back. Really, really back. Tsonga, Murray and Soderling do their thing:

Crying a little bit here.

Posted in andy murray, french open, jo-wilfried tsonga, robin soderling, video | 1 Comment »

ATP Injury Count Rises

Posted by gauloises1 on April 7, 2010

First, the worst: Juan Martin del Potro has withdrawn from Monte Carlo and Barcelona because the tendonitis in his right wrist still won’t allow him to train properly. After spending Easter in Tandil he’s gone to Rochester, Minnesota (the town where I was born! OK, not important) to consult a specialist called Dr Richard Berger, and been diagnosed with a ‘small residual tendonitis’. So … more rest until Rome at the earliest? I don’t even know what to say any more.

I’m starting to seriously wonder if we’re ever getting him back. And seeing as how I’m a hollow shell of a woman and this blog is a shallow facsimile of a hollow shell of a woman’s blog without Delpo, that really isn’t good news for anyone except my enemies. And I hate those guys.

OK, enough Futurama references. Life goes on. Except not really if you’re any one of these guys: Gilles Simon, who will be out for a month with his ongoing knee problems and may miss Roland Garros; Robin Soderling, whose S&M-style knee strapping in Miami was the result of a knee strain that will keep him out of Monte Carlo; or Radek Stepanek, who’s out for a couple of months with exhaustion (in the interests of gender equality, we really should start talking about how Nicole Vaidisova is clearly ruining his career). And I haven’t heard any further update on Fernando Verdasco’s back problem either.

Can we just call the tour off for a couple of weeks? Maybe a month?

We could call it an ‘off season’.

Posted in barcelona, fernando verdasco, gilles simon, juan martin del potro, monte carlo, radek stepanek, robin soderling, the withdrawal method | Tagged: | 12 Comments »

Miami: Quite a Lot Like Indian Wells

Posted by gauloises1 on April 3, 2010

So correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this all oddly familiar?

Rafa, the only member of the top four still standing, loses in the semifinals after looking well-nigh unbeatable earlier in the tournament.

Robin Soderling bashes and batters his way to the semifinals, only to then lose in straight sets quite tamely.

Andy Roddick is in the finals, a bit surprisingly, and will play an even more surprising opponent, in this case Tomas Berdych, who started this tournament at 125-1.

I’m pretty sure I can see nostril hair.

Posted in andy roddick, miami, rafael nadal, robin soderling, tomas berdych | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Never Trust a Species That Grins All the Time

Posted by gauloises1 on March 25, 2010

It’s up to something.

Oh, boys.

Posted in david ferrer, eduardo schwank, fernando gonzalez, miami, robin soderling, thomaz bellucci | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

D Cup: Argentina 3 – 2 Sweden

Posted by gauloises1 on March 8, 2010

Guess who’s back.

That’s right. El Rey is in the house.

I’m still grinning like a fool about how this worked out, so can I recommend that you visit VamosDavid for their excellent match reports? I’ll  just be doing the hyperbole and silly picspams as per usual.

Now we’ve got that sorted out … The day didn’t start out too well for Argentina as Leonardo Mayer was first up against Robin Soderling, facing the difficult (and as it turned out, nigh-impossible) task of clinching the tie after the doubles left Argentina with a 2-1 lead. It didn’t work out so well.

One actually can’t blame Leo for throwing his toys out of the pram. I thought he played really well and kept the match very close as the scoreline shows. That said, the gulf in class clearly showed in key moments, and Robin was really impressive despite carrying the burden of keeping the tie alive. He’s turning into a great Davis Cup player and it’s a shame in some ways that he doesn’t really have anyone to back him up.

But you couldn’t fault Leo for effort. He was virtually crying as Robin served the match out in emphatic style, and left the court broken-hearted – without even any shirtless cuddling to make him (and us) feel better.

So that left the tie poised at 2-2 with one match to decide two nation’s fates. A tricky situation, delicately balanced between triumph and disaster, agony and elation. The kind of moment when you really need someone to step up and be the hero, someone who’s done it all before, who knows what it’s like to win and lose big, someone capable of bringing a bit of class and magic to the court … someone, not to put too fine a point on it, not Eduardo Schwank.

Well hello there.

It wasn’t, to be frank, Nalbandian’s best performance. Apparently he only decided ten minutes before the match that he was actually going to play, having felt some pain after the doubles yesterday, and he started off distinctly rusty and seemingly unsure of his tactics. Vinciguerra, in fact, missed several opportunities to impose himself at the beginning of the match which could have changed the course of the whole thing. As it was, Nalbandian seemingly won the first set through grim determination more than anything else.

After that he loosened up and almost at times looked like the Nalbandian of old (had anybody else forgotten a bit just how good that is? His ball-striking is basically the sex), outclassing Vinciguerra throughout the second set and might have won in straights had he not taken a tumble diving for an unexpectedly stinging cross-court forehand when he was serving to stay in the third. The fall seemed to jar him a bit (hopefully doing no lingering damage, please god) and the third set unexpectedly slipped away.

But when he came out for the fourth, he had a look on his face which said pretty clearly that he had no intention of losing it, and so it proved. 75 63 46 64, and still the bad daddy of Davis Cup.

We bow before you.

I don’t want to make it seem like Nalbandian won this tie single-handed. Leo Mayer did incredibly well to recover and win against Joachim Johansson, without which Argentina would have had no chance. Horacio Zeballos really impressed in the doubles and was probably the best player out there. But quite apart from the crucial fifth rubber, you can’t underestimate the value of experience and inspiration, and it seems like Nalbandian risked his playing health to provide both this weekend.

OK, I’ll stop gushing now. Who wants happy hugging Argies?

Russia next …

R4 – R.SODERLING (SWE) def. L.MAYER (ARG)
7-5  7-6(5)  7-5
R5 – D.NALBANDIAN (ARG) def. A.VINCIGUERRA (SWE)
7-5  6-3  4-6  6-4

 
 

Posted in andreas vinciguerra, david nalbandian, davis cup, horacio zeballos, leonardo mayer, robin soderling | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

Sunday Titlists: Dementieva, Soderling, Zvonareva

Posted by gauloises1 on February 15, 2010

Time has kind of made me its bitch tonight. FYI.

Elena Dementieva d. Lucie Safarova, 67(5) 61 64

Huge congratulations to Elena. She had some tough opponents to deal with, none more so than Lucie. The third set was really great stuff and should be taken as a smack in the face to all those who say that the WTA doesn’t produce good finals. That Elena burst into tears when she won really showed how much it meant to her.

And just when things couldn’t get more heartwarming, Momo presented her with the trophy.

Robin Soderling d. Mikhail Youzhny, 64 20 ret.

Poor, poor Mikhail Youzhny. He played so well to beat Nole in the semis (just like he did to beat Gasquet at the AO), then once again injury strikes him down. He was clearly heartbroken. Sad face.

A hearty ‘yay’ to Robin Soderling though. He had a nightmare at Chennai and the AO and a lot of people have been questioning whether he would be able to back up last year’s career-best achievements. Well, he’s not doing badly so far.

Vera Zvonareva d. Tamarine Tanasugarn, 64 64

Welcome back to the winner’s circle, Vera.

(Other tourney results to follow as soon as they finish / I can find decent photos.)

Posted in amelie mauresmo, elena dementieva, lucie safarova, mikhail youzhny, robin soderling, rotterdam, tamarine tanasugarn, titlists, vera zvonareva | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Rotterdam: Soderling, Youzhny To Meet In Final

Posted by gauloises1 on February 14, 2010

Not a great day for the big boys in Rotterdam. Robin Soderling is definitely back to form, beating Kolya 76(3) 64 to claim his seventh win over the Russian in eleven attempts.

The second semifinal was even tighter, but Mikhail Youzhny beat Novak Djokovic 76(5) 76(6). Squeaky. I don’t even know what to say about this one: Nole wasn’t serving great, but nor was Youzhny. Just a little bit of concentration and focus lacking at key moments, maybe – the usual Nole malaise? Not liking it up at there at no. 2? I don’t even know.

 

But yay for Youzhny. God knows, he’s got the game to be challenging at this level on a consistent basis.

Posted in mikhail youzhny, novak djokovic, robin soderling, rotterdam | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Rotterdam: Soderling, Kolya, Nole and Youzh Into Semis

Posted by gauloises1 on February 13, 2010

Semi-finals are set in Rotterdam and it’s a very decent lineup. Nole has somehow sneaked his way in there despite only playing one match after getting a walkover from Florian Mayer. He’ll face Mikhail Youzhny, who won a highly entertaining against Gael Monfils. The commentators were intent on casting it as Russian meticulousness and tenacity against French flair, which does something of a disservice to both their games, but in the end Youzhny was that little bit more focussed in the end.

In the other half of the draw, Nikolay Davydenko and Robin Soderling both progressed in straight sets. Kolya calmly saw off Jurgen Melzer, 63 62.

Talk to the hand.

I would like to pinch your cheeks, Kolya. Take that as you will.

Robin Soderling, however, put in the most dominant performance of the day, utterly dismissing Julien Benneteau 60 61.

A return to form for the Sod?

Full Results

Singles – Quarter-finals
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) d F Mayer (GER) w/o (left leg)
[2] N Davydenko (RUS) d J Melzer (AUT) 63 62
[3] [WC] R Soderling (SWE) d J Benneteau (FRA) 60 61
[6] M Youzhny (RUS) d [4] G Monfils (FRA) 57 62 63

Doubles – Quarter-finals
M Llodra (FRA) / A Ram (ISR) vs [2] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK)

Order of Play

Centre Court (matches start at 2 p.m.)
1. Robin Soderling v Nikolay Davydenko
2. Daniel Nestor / Nenad Zimonjic v Julian Knowle / Robert Lindstdt
3. Novak Djokovic v Mikhail Youzhny (not before 7.30  p.m.)
4. Simon Aspelin / Paul Hanley v Michael Llodra / Andy Ram

Posted in gael monfils, julien benneteau, jurgen melzer, mikhail youzhny, nikolay davydenko, robin soderling, rotterdam | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »