Roland Garros 2009: Upsets and Unexpected

fedwinsRoland Garros 2009 was over. Two Mighty Leos squared-off in Men’s Finals. Roger Federer *8th of August* wasted no time and maimed Robin Soderling *Aug. 14* in straight sets (6-1, 7-6, 6-4). It was clearly Federer’s aggressive game all throughout the match. He was roaring like the real king of the jungle from the beginning till end. Soderling produced some incredible drop shots in the second set but he still allowed himself to be devoured by Federer’s 16 aces and 41 winners.

Hate him. Love him. Federer’s the best tennis athlete in the circuit to date. Earlier part of 2009, Federer was struggling to win his first tournament but surprisingly, aced his first victory in Madrid, where he outlasted the King of Clay (6-4, 6-4).

In women’s side, it’s quite shocking the crowd favorite, Dinara Safina, couldn’t pull her game to the right level, Svetlana Kuznetsova easily outplayed her (6-4, 6-2). I don’t know the problem with Safina. She’s been in two grand slams finals this year but her playing style was still tight. Kuznetsova was evidently the better player this time.

Kuznetsova faced three set scares since the fourth round with Agnieszka Radswanka, quarters with Serena Williams and semis with Samantha Stosur but still managed to move like a suave contender during the finals.


86151637JD189_2009_French_OIt’s really hard to believe Rafael Nadal was ousted in fourth round. His loss was undeniably one of the biggest upsets in Tennis History, not only in Roland Garros 2009. No hurtful words for Robin Soderling though, Soderling’s overall game during their clash was unbelievable. He was the attacker, his returns were consistently sharp and Rafa was stunned.

I salute Rafa’s big forehand hits but the right-handed Swede played like a beast. He was hungry and even outshined two big names while advancing (Nikolay Davyenko in straight sets 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 and hard-hitting Fernando Gonzales of Chile in a heart-pacing five-set semis 6-3, 7-5, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4).

I wondered why Soderling didn’t come across the line and acted the way he defeated Nadal when he’s with Fed. Now the Swede jumps to 13 from 25 in the June 8, 2009 ATP rankings and the fact he made in a grand slam clay finals, there’s probably more rooms for his improvement.

Just noticing: Soderling’s game was quick. His forehand returns and net attacking styles were his strongest suit, I think, but in some ways, his footwork was a little clumsy.

Everyone, myself included, expected a Djokovic-Nadal final but this expectation turned into ashes when fourth seed Novak Djokovic was sent home by Philipp Kohlshreiber of Germany (4-6, 4-6, 4-6) in third round. Nole called it as “a bad day at the office” that’s why he loss.  After-match interview with Novak Djokovic

I was not totally worried with Nole. He’s the type of player with lots of surprises. He retired during his QF match with Andy Roddick in Australian Open 2009 but brought home his much-awaited 12th singles victory while in Dubai. His unknown inconsistencies maimed him at Sony Ericsson Finals with Andy Murray but stunned Roger Federer in two occassions (one in concrete and one in clay) and almost upset Rafa Nadal in Madrid (3-6, 6-7, 6-7).


Novak Djokovic’s loss in Roland Garros didn’t bug him in the recent rankings. He’s still at 4 and only points away from Andy Murray. However, it’s totally a different story for his childhood friend, Ana Ivanovic.

Even injured, Ana Ivanovic made her first found-round appearance in a grand slam since Wimbledon of last year. I was celebrating during her wins but it’s head-to-knee disappointment upon seeing her name outside the top ten in the recent WTA rankings. From number 8 in the world, Ana Ivanovic was now at number 13 ranking lower than Marion Bartoli, Agnieszka Radswanka and Caroline Wozniacki.

The young Serb played three incredible matches in Roland Garros. Her first round clash with Sara Errani was high-quality tennis (7-6, 6-3). Watching her win against Errani made me realize Ivanovic was still a top-quality tennis player but sad to say, her focus should be winning quantity of matches.

During her first round, I admired the way she moved around the baseline, produced six aces even when she’s nervous and her determination to approach the net once in a while. She superbly controlled  Tanasugarn and Benesova in the second and third (6-1, 6-2 and 6-0, 6-2 respectively).

Personally wanted her to be in the last eight, Ivanovic only won five games in the fourth round with Victoria Azarenka and committed twenty unforced errors throughout the match. Her 24 winners compared to the Belarusian’s 14 didn’t help her survive the landslide (2-6, 3-6).

fernandoverascoFernando Verdasco unexpectedly didn’t made it to the last eight considering his consistent QF appearance in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome and Madrid. Verdasco’s straight set fourth round knockdown (2-6, 2-6, 4-6) over Nikolay Davydenko was alarming. It would be interesting if the left-handed Spaniard from Madrid met Roland Garros Dark Horse (Robin Soderling) in the quarters.

Verdasco’s third round match with compatriot Nicolas Almagro was probably one of his bests in his entire career (6-2, 7-6, 7-6).

Andy Roddick was the last American standing in men’s pro, making the fourth round for the first time. This was a good sign for A-Rod!

The Dark Horses

86151653JD038_2009_French_OTwo of my picks for Roland Garros Dark Horses were Robin Soderling and Sorana Cirstea of Romania. Cirstea upset a number of WTA superstars before overpowered by Australian pride, Samantha Stosur in the last eight.  The young Romanian thrashed Alize Cornet in the second round (6-3, 6-2), troubled my wildcard bet Caroline Wozniacki in the third (7-6, 7-5) and left the former world number one, Jelena Jankovic, in frustration (3-6, 6-0, 9-7).

Robin Soderling of Sweden instantly became a household name by defeating the King of Clay and cruise into the finals with Roger Federer.

Other Champions

  1. Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes win men’s doubles
  2. Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual win women’s doubles
  3. Esther Vergeer and Shingo Kunieda in women and men singles on wheelchair

Roland Garros 2009 Shocking Moment

The price of fame: Jimmy Jump VS Roger Federer

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