Sunday, June 6, 2010
Soderling v Nadal preview
To start with, it has been another French open in which, there have been lots of upsets with seeds being knocked out by unfancied players. In the end, there are two players who are vying for the title and they are, the emperor of clay, Nadal and the only player to have defeated Rafa at Roland Garros, Soderling. It is no doubt a mouth watering clash on the cards as in the last couple of matches Soderling has met Rafa, he has been able to hit him out of the court with his powerful serves and his long reach. So, Rafa would be looking for revenge against a player who, in recent times has troubled him.
I'm a fan of Rafa as he is gutsy player who, never gives up and I just love his court coverage, but he should be careful against Soderling as in this tournament, he has tended to make a lot of short returns of his backhand and unlike Melzer whom, Rafa defeated in the semifinals, Soderling would jump on any short return from Rafa. Rafa also has a tendency to play it safe and not go for the winners.
Soderling on the other hand, caused a huge upset when he defeated the defending champion, Fedexpress for the first time in his career in the quarterfinal stage. He came through a gruelling five setter against another powerful hitter Berdych and looks match fit. In the match against Rafa, Soderling would look to get as many cheap points as he can with his serve. Unlike Rafa, he may not always hit lots of first serves, but he keeps guessing the opposite player with variations in his serve and of course, can hit serves at even 220kph. Soderling has a good forehand and Rafa won't be able to target his double-handed backhand as he has a powerful backhand combined with depth in those shots. He also has a long reach and it would be tough for Rafa to move him around the court. Soderling would no doubt pounce on any short return that Rafa makes in the match.
If Rafa would like it to be a nice sunny day as it would bounce more and he can get more top spin on the ball, Soderling would like it be damp and damp conditions helped him against Fed. For Soderling, cool and wet conditions would help him to hit the ball without making many unforced errors as if the wind is blowing, he loses his timing and with Soldering having a powerful forehand means that it would get magnified and would lead to unforced errors.
Yes, Rafa is a all time great player on clay, but it would be a tough match for Rafa and if he wants to win it, he has to tighten his game and try his best to not let Soderling to dictate on the back of the court with his powerful shots that have excellent depth.
Most players dislike Soderling, but if he plays at his best, Soderling has a decent chance of again beating Rafa at Roland Garros.