A few days ago, the WALL STREET JOURNAL ran an article contemplating the virtual impossibility of beating Rafael Nadal at the French Open, and you can understand why. He was chasing his record fifth-straight title at Roland Garros, where he had never lost a match. His career record on clay 150-5. At the French Open, Nadal was pretty much a one-man wrecking crew.
But apparently, Robin Soderling doesn’t read the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Which isn’t that shocking, since he’s Swedish and all. But what the 23rd seed lacks in financial media acumen, he makes up for with a powerful serve, which was far more important today as he beat Nadal in four sets in what the NEW YORK TIMES is calling “one of the biggest upsets in the long history of tennis.”
Nadal had never even been pushed to five sets at the French Open, and that’s still the case. But Soderberg blitzed Nadal 6-2 in the first set (his first loss of a set since the 2007 final against Roger Federer) and didn’t look back, sending Nadal packing and throwing the tournament wide open. Federer has to be smiling - he just saw the 600 lb. gorilla standing between him and a career Grand Slam get eliminated.
Nadal wasn’t the only big name to fall at the French Open today. (Or as Newt Gingrich still calls it, the Freedom Open.) Most disappointing for the male fans of the sport was Ana Ivanovich, as the defending women’s champion fell flat on her face (actually, I don’t know if that’s posssible) and was knocked out of the tournament by Victoria Azarenka in straight sets.
While we know what a hottie Ivanovich is, it’s not like Azarenka is chopped liver either: