Sodering shocks Nadal into career-first Roland Garros loss (Second Lead)June 1st, 2009 - 12:08 am ICT by IANS
Paris, May 31 (DPA) Swedish Viking Robin Soderling used his flailing forehand to stun Rafael Nadal into his first career defeat at the French Open Sunday as women’s defending champion Ana Ivanovic joined the men’s holder in a fourth-round loss.
Soderling made history as he stopped four-time Roland Garros trophy-holder Nadal’s red-hot run on clay at 31 consecutive wins at Roland Garros with a 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) victory in three and a half hours.
Nadal had been bidding to become the first player of either sex to win the event five times in a row. He stood 3-0 against Soderling coming in, have crushed the Swede in their only other clay meeting in Paris three years ago.
Ivanovic fell 6-2, 6-3 to teenaged Victoria Azarenka of Belarus as the Serb defending champion failed to deliver after working to overcome a recent right knee injury.
Ivanovic, her ranking down to eighth, beat Dinara Safina, currently number one in the world, for her only Grand Slam title at Roland Garros a year ago.
Soderling’s feat was cheered by the showcase court crowd as Nadal was toppled. The ice-calm Scandinavian who had never been past the third round at the event, calmly unleashed 61 winners and overcame 59 unforced errors as he took down the king of clay.
The number 25 won the opening set in just 34 minutes to announce his intentions as he handed Nadal the Spaniard’s first losing set in Paris since the 2007 final against Roger Federer.
Nadal scrambled back into contention by winning the 75-minute second set with a runaway tiebreak before Soderling again began to dominate.
The underdog secured the third set with a break and recovered after falling 0-2 down in the fourth, breaking Nadal to love in the third game and staying with the frustrated Spaniard all the way into another decider.
Soderling nailed he victory on his second match point, with a Nadal volley at the net lifting wide.
The surprise dropped a bomb on the tournament which Nadal has dominated from the moment he first stepped onto the clay of Roland Garros in 2005.
Andy Murray broke fresh ground as he reached first quarter-final at the tournament with a 7-5, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 defeat of Croatian Marin Cilic.
“I came through all the tough situations well,” said the world number three. “I played a solid tiebreak, and, you know, I was obviously very happy to win in straight sets, because he’s been playing very well.”
The third-seeded Scot will next take on a huge hitter in Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez after the 12th seed crushed Romanian Victor Hanescu 6-2, 6-4, 6-2
“This year I’ve been playing in a really good level,” said Gonzalez, a three-time Paris quarter-finalist. “I think I’ve play good every match, almost every match.”
Women’s top seed Safina continued her destructive march through the draw, cutting down the penultimate home women’s hope Aravane Rezai 6-1, 6-0 to reach the last eight.
The defeat leaves only Virginie Razzano to defend French pride at this edition.
In four Week One matches, Russian world number one Safina has lost a mere five games as she works to solidify her top ranking form chasing Serena Williams.
“Overall, I’m trying to dominate, because there is no other chance for me. I’m not a roadrunner player, otherwise it’s going to be long match.
“Since I became number one, I think I’m playing better and better,” said the winner. “It feels good getting into the quarter-finals like this.”
Slovak Dominika Cibulkova reached the first Grand Slam quarter-final of her career, following up on an Australian Open fourth round as she defeated Agnes Szavay of Hungary 6-2, 6-4.
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- Federer through to set up re-match with Soderling - May 31, 2010
- Nadal one win away from French Open title record - Jun 09, 2012
- Soderling shocks Federer in French Open comeback win - Jun 02, 2010
- French Open: World No.1 Azarenka crashes out - Jun 03, 2012
- Nadal moves forward while Henin eliminated in Paris - Jun 01, 2010
- Nadal beats Federer, wins sixth French Open crown (Lead) - Jun 06, 2011
- Nadal, Djokovic eyeing history in French Open final (Lead) - Jun 09, 2012
- Clay king Nadal lifts emphatic fifth title in Paris (Lead) - Jun 06, 2010
- US Open: Radwanska ousted by Vinci - Sep 04, 2012
- Nadal clinches fifth French title - Jun 06, 2010
- Federer, Nadal in Australian Open quarters (Roundup) - Jan 22, 2012
- French Open: Top seeds advance to third round - May 31, 2012
Tags: ana ivanovic, defending champion, dinara safina, federer nadal, forehand, grand slam title, half hours, hot run, knee injury, match point, rafael nadal, robin soderling, roger federer, roland garros, spaniard, swedish viking, third game, tiebreak, unforced errors, victoria azarenka