Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Soderling v Nadal as it happened (part 4 – final)

Wimbledon third round latest:

R S’LING (Swe) 28 v R NADAL (Spa) 2

4-6 4-6 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 5-7

By Jonathan Stevenson


Soderling 4-6 4-6 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 5-7 Nadal
Soderling lashes two forehands wide to give Rafa two match points. The first he nets, the second he misses wide by two inches. He gets another thanks to two massive forehands but nets again. Unbelievable. He sets up yet another match point with the most remarkable cross-court pass from the back of the court before Soderling replies in kind, tennis of the very highest quality. Finally Soderling goes wide and then long – which he unsuccessfully challenges – and it is all over. Nadal drops to his knees in sheer relief – what a super-human effort from the number two seed.

Soderling 4-6 4-6 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 5-6 Nadal
You could not make this up. Slowly but surely, the umbrellas begin to go up. Rafa turns around from his chair and looks with disgust at the fans holding brollies in the air. Mercifully, we carry on.

Soderling 4-6 4-6 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 5-6 Nadal
This time it’s Soderling who goes long and wide to hand Rafa the advantage, before the Spaniard gifts two points and then the Swede puts away a fine volley to get break point. Unfortunately for him, Rafa’s top-spin forehand is too heavy to handle and after a blinding rally at deuce, he lashes a short ball home to edge ahead once more.

Soderling 4-6 4-6 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 5-5 Nadal
A flukey net cord hands Soderling the perfect start and Rafa goes long and wide before a brutal serve levels us up again. Nothing in it. How long could this last?

Soderling 4-6 4-6 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 4-5 Nadal
Good power from the Swede, who out-rallies Rafa first up. But the Spaniard replies with three big serves to take control and Soderling goes long to hand Rafa the game. The pumped up cheers are coming from the crowd, a smattering of Spaniards, presumably.

“I like the body language of Nadal already, he’s got a spring in his step and he must be desperate to find a way to win this match”
BBC Sport pundit Greg Rusedski

1150 BST: It’s 0-0, we go again. Well not quite, but you know what I mean. About a thousand hours after this match was scheduled to get under way, Rafa and Robin have it all to do. It’s 4-4, fifth set, nerves o’clock. Let’s rock and roll.
By Ben Dirs & Mark Barden


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