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Nadal sees off Söderling in French Open final

AFP/The Local · 6 Jun 2010, 18:55

Published: 06 Jun 2010 17:33 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Jun 2010 18:55 GMT+02:00

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Nadal recaptured the French Open crown, gaining revenge over Söderling with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win and, in so doing, he also retook the world number one spot from Roger Federer.

Nadal was simply too powerful on clay for the Swede who 12 months ago ended the Spaniard's 31-match, four titles win streak in Paris in stunning fashion with a four sets, fourth round triumph.

The win, Nadal's fifth here since 2005, put him second on the all-time list of French Open winners, one behind Björn Borg whose last title here came in 1981. He is now 38-1 in matches played at Roland Garros.

It was also the second time he had won the French Open title without dropping a set, having first achieved that feat in 2008.

For Söderling it was another cruel finish to the tournament having defeated top seed and title-holder Roger Federer in the quarter-finals. Last year he beat top seed and title-holder Nadal, but lost to Federer in the final.

"I played my best match against you otherwise it would have been impossible to beat you," Nadal told Söderling on the awards podium.

In reply Söderling said: "If you continue to play like this you will surely have the chance to win many more. I will be back next year and hopefully it will be third time lucky."

With a morning storm having chased away the sweltering temperatures that marked Saturday's women's final, cool, overcast conditions greeted the two men

as they stepped out onto the Philippe Chatrier centre court.

Fifth seed Söderling opened confidently with three big serves at around 220 kilometres an hour and it was the Swede who procured the first break point of the match in the third game.

He failed to convert that though, hitting a backhand long and was made to pay the price in the following game.

Söderling was in control of the rally with a second break point against him, but he mistakenly left alone a Nadal crosscourt backhand, thinking it was going out. Instead it dipped at the last second and landed just inside the baseline.

The Swede was going for broke with his sledgehammer forehand, while Nadal was content to soak up the pressure and destablize his opponent with his high bouncing, top spin shots down both flanks.

Söderling saved a further break point to close to 3-4 before Nadal also needed to save one in the following game as he stretched his lead to 5-3.

The fifth seed saved three set points from 0-40 down in the following game, but Nadal wrapped up the set in 55 minutes on serve in the following game.

With dark clouds gathering over Roland Garros, Söderling had a total of four break points for a 2-0 lead early in the second set but, despite having Nadal on the ropes on three of those occasions, he failed to take his chances.

Once again the man from Mallorca made him pay a heavy price as he broke the Swede's serve to love in the fifth game to lead 3-2.

Story continues below…

The match was starting to slip away from Söderling and his confidence took another blow when Nadal broke again two games later to lead 5-2. He comfortably served out for a two sets to nil lead.

A relentless front-runner, Nadal scented victory and he moved in for the kill by capturing Söderling's serve to open the third set.

Söderling's last glimpse of a chance came when he had break point in the following game, but a big Nadal first serve slammed shut the door.

The Spaniard simply needed to hold serve four times to win the tournament and that he did comfortably before falling onto his back in triumph.

At 24, Nadal had won his seventh Grand Slam title joining the likes of John McEnroe, Mats Wilander and 1920s French legend Rene Lacoste.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

19:25 June 6, 2010 by riose
From the interview at the end of the match:

"How do you plan to celebrate the victory, Rafa?"

"Training tomorrow in Queens, Wimbledon is in two weeks"

Congrats, Rafa!
03:30 June 7, 2010 by VicTaulic
Nadal grunts like a girl.
08:22 June 7, 2010 by planethero
Coming second in a final is very hard sportsmen.

But there is no need to give the poor bloke the inside of a biscuit tin to compound the humiliation.
11:22 June 7, 2010 by jazzIIIlove
I am tired of trays that Söderling wins after grand slams. This guy beats Federer, then lose to Nadal or vice-versa. Honestly, how can he beat both of them in the same tournament? and his unlucky nature?
12:30 June 7, 2010 by Leo Danial
I am very happy that Nadal is again leadi g the International tennis scene ... He is very good & maybe even better than Fedrer.

He looks that he has left behind his back all the problems of the last year & came back to take what is his; the lead ... He is the Tiger of Tennis.

Soderling was very good too ... even better than last year ... he had many tough matches before meeting Nadal ... He needs more experience & confidence.

He was expecting hard times after he defeated Fedrer ... the road will not be so smooth ... I think that he had prepared him self for 2nd place in advance! This was very realistic ... I think that he can go further & higher in coming years>

Congratulations to Nadal & Soderling
13:00 June 7, 2010 by Audrian
Nadal used four different techniques in combination or separately: slicing, spinning, hitting the ball high, and hitting the ball low This had made his oponents unconfortable. Soderling is a hard hitter and the best on that count. Formidable players like Nadal can learn to how to tackle such hard hit balls. Soderling may need to add one or more techniques in his arsenal to be a number 1.

They were both entertaining.
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