Calm, cool, and confident on clay

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

(I’ve used so many Rs in my titles this week, I decided to give the C a workout this time. We know Rafa doesn’t need that last C to attain the first 3.)

In a match up that has some history, Rafa took on #27 Robin Soderling or Sweden in today’s round of 16 match. Soderling started out playing well but was still losing handily. In the second set, an intense fight over a line call that he lost just seemed to seal the deal on his mental state. Rafa was moving and playing well and Soderling had to settle for a nice evening snack of a breadstick and a bagel. Rafa is through to the quarters: 6-1 6-0.

Stats:

Nadal Soderling
Statistics on Serve
Aces 1 3
Double Faults 2 2
1st Serve % 57% 52%
1st Serve Points Won 18/29 (62%) 11/27 (41%)
2nd Serve Points Won 15/22 (68%) 5/25 (32%)
Break Points Saved 5/5 (100%) 2/8 (25%)
Service Games Played 6 7
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 16/27 (59%) 11/29 (38%)
Second Return Points Won 17/25 (68%) 7/22 (32%)
Break Points Won 6/8 (75%) 0/5 (0%)
Return Games Played 7 6
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 33/51 (65%) 19/52 (37%)
Total Return Points Won 33/52 (63%) 18/51 (35%)
Total Points Won 66/103 (54%) 37/103 (36%)

As it happened blatherings:

Body pan #1! Okay, it was just a foot to waist pan since he was sitting down and then had to get up for the coin toss, but still. For some reason, TennisTV sped things up a bit which made Rafa’s coin-toss-net-jump most hilarious. I love it when the announcer is reading out Rafa’s wins during the intro. I can just hear the mental screams from the opponent: “Just stop it, already!”

Soderling starts things off serving and he’s brought his flat shots and sharp angles with him today. Rafa says, “Neener” to that with a hard, angled backhand. Rafa nets a forehand – first game to Soderling.

Soderling pounced on a short ball and goes up on Rafa’s serve. Rafa runs Soderling – pushing him deep and wide – and finishes him off at the net. After a long rally, Soderling sends a shot wide to give Rafa game point. Rafa barely misses an angled forehand sending it just wide and it’s deuce. On another game point for Rafa, the net cord shows Soderling some love. A short angled forehand gives Rafa another game point. Fantastic forehand down the line from Soderling and it’s deuce again. Soderling was moving Rafa well on that point, but Rafa hits a deep shot that draws an error – game point Rafa. A deep perfectly placed forehand in the corner from Soderling and it’s deuce again. Rafa sends a slice backhand long and Soderling has the first break point of the match. Excellent serve down the middle from Rafa saves the bp. Rafa goes on to finally hold: 1-1.

Blistering forehand down the line whizzes past Soderling’s head. That was pretty. That’s followed up by a drop shot that Soderling can’t get to. Rafa sends Soderling right, left, right, left…and then thumps the ball for a winner and break point. Soderling saves one, but a nice short angled forehand and Rafa breaks.

@kefuoe: I can only hope this is tiring Soderling out as much as it is me.
@Ataraxis00: Rafa has found his range and a little oomph on his shots.

That cross-court winner is always so lovely. Ack! Double fault from Rafa gives Soderling break point. A nice smash from Rafa takes it back. He goes on to hold: 3-1.

Rafa was so far back on the 15-30 point in Soderling’s next game – I have no idea how he turned that forehand into a winner.

@Ataraxis00: Ohhh I know that passing shot ticked off Soderling. Nice!

Some errors from Soderling and Rafa leads 4-1.

I’m trying not to think that, from some angles, Soderling kind of looks like Phil Keoghan. Cause Phil is hot; Soderling not.

Once again, Soderling goes up on Rafa’s serve – triple break point. Soderling sends 2 balls long and we are down to one break point. Another shot wide and it’s deuce. Another error and it’s game point Rafa, but he sends a ball just long and it’s deuce. Soderling nets a ball and Rafa has another game point.

@kefuoe: @nadalnews All of them saved. If I were Sod, I’d be feeling pretty jaded by now.

Jaded indeed – Rafa holds for 5-1.

Nice serve/volley from Soderling. Another forehand down the line winner from Rafa – dips in at the last second. Nice drop shot from Rafa gives him set point. First set to Rafa in 49 minutes: 6-1.

@kefuoe: @nadalnews Rafa is on fire. Looks like he really wants to give Sod a beat down.

TennisTV is playing video from set one and audio from set two. So glad I’m “working from home” today and can watch on TV.

Sexy ace from Rafa – he holds at love to start the second set. He goes on to break Soderling for 2-0.

I love it when the announcers are all, “He can’t feel bad for losing to Rafa on clay – everyone does it.”

Soderling is being an ass about a line call. To be fair, the chair isn’t helping with his “I don’t know which mark it is now.” Adding insult to injury, Rafa holds for 3-0.

The Tennis Channel has decided to only show me every other second of the show.

Rafa breaks at love. Steamroller anyone? Soderling doesn’t look to be there mentally anymore. 5-0.

Rafa’s in full strut now – almost smiling as he runs down balls. (Almost.)

Neither player can put two points together to close out this game. Fun little “I can barely reach the ball” lob from Rafa gives them deuce again.

26 Responses

  1. CC says:

    Uh…oh… The state of Swedish tennis at the mo does not make me proud to be a Swede…
    *remembers good ole days with Edberg and Wilander*
    *sighs*

    Kinda want to comment on the match, but got nothing to say. Robin hasn’t got the mental strength to beat Rafa. And that was that.

    Rafa looked twitchier than ever today, I thought. The headband sliding up after only a couple of games, making him look so vulnerable I almost thought he was going to burst into tears…

    Oh, and he shaved.

    • miri says:

      You said Wilander! *swoons*

      And yeah, playing well and still getting spanked did nothing for Soderling’s mental health. He was slumped shouldered in that second set.

      Interesting you thought Rafa looked twitchy and I thought he looked pumped up and ready to go. Or wait, maybe those aren’t different things.

      • CC says:

        I dunno. I think I’m maybe feeling a bit broody today and made our Rafa look in need of me mothering him. So you may be right! The things this boy does to me… It ain’t healthy, I’m sure! (-:

        • miri says:

          Heh. I still think we can be somehow be right. And, even if he was calm and collected, he could still need you to help him celebrate the win. ;)

          • CC says:

            Mmm…with a little jam on top, no? (-:

            Thanks for your “as it happened blatherings”, BTW. I love this site so much, hope you feel our appreciation through all my weird and other people’s wonderful comments.

            • miri says:

              I think Nutella on top would be a better celebration. ;)

              Thanks. And it makes me happy when you guys come and play along with the wonderful comments. So, thank you for that.

              I was lucky enough to be home to blather about the match today. Well, if you consider waking up with a migraine that would stun an Ox fortunate. I let my boss know I wouldn’t be coming in and then took some knock-out pills. I woke up just before the match feeling groggy and out of it, but at least the head-ache was gone. Maybe that’s why I didn’t notice any twitchies!

              Anyway, the “Strokes of Genius” book appeared on my doorstep a bit ago, so I’m going to go curl up in bed with it.

  2. strobi says:

    Given the history between both players i am sure Rafa wanted to beat Soderling badly. I don’t think he feels sorry for defeating this particular player today.
    Btw, i miss Edberg too.

  3. fuzzydunlop says:

    Ahhh … this one felt good. Soderling so deserved a beatdown : )

    btw, miri, love the “nice evening snack of a breadstick and a bagel”. LOL!

  4. kalliopeia says:

    Aaaahhhh. Just the spanking I was hoping for. Did Soderling cry? Please tell me he did. That would be the icing on the cake.

    Did he at least have the balls to shake Rafa’s hand AND look him in the eye this time?

    I’ll enjoy watching this one later.

    • fuzzydunlop says:

      Now these are the burning questions that really matter! I’m dying to know too. I hope someone youtubes highlights soon – reading about a smackdown can’t nearly be as fun as watching it!

    • tiemyshoe says:

      I didn’t get to see this match either, but it’s awesome how Rafa – who cannot for the life of him say a bad word about anyone – obviously like HATES Soderling. He didn’t need to go for a bagel in the second – he just wanted one. I likee.

  5. faecoleman says:

    I personally was really hoping that Soderling was given a bages for his breakfast tommorow, did you see how he queried the call with the umpire, pointing to a mark 3 metres from where Rafa’s ball hit? and he didn’t do himself any favours, coz after that it was game over’. I did get stressed out in the beginning thou, Rafa did commit a few u/e’s and double faulted twice in the match, he can’t afford to do that tommorow, Verdasco is playin well so I hope Rafa gets through ok, I shan’t make it home for his match tommorow so I hope I get to see it after. I can always rely on here though to update me can’t I if not, great site Miri, always first in with all Rafas’ happenings so thank you and keep up the good work, much appreciated.

  6. strobi says:

    What are your comments about the scene Soderling made about the out call of one of Rafa’s shots? He pointed at a mark that was at least 2 m away from where the ball landed, it was unbelievable!

  7. Anna says:

    When I first laid eyes on the title of this entry I thought you’d written “colm” wrong, true story.

    Today’s post match interview was the most animated/self-satisfied I’ve seen Rafa being in a presser since the AO.

    • miri says:

      *slaps forehead* I’m such an idiot. Of course it’s spelled “colm” – well, in Rafaland it is.

  8. naaz says:

    I stayed up long past midnite 2 watch d match. it was cool except 4 d serving. there were some gorgeous shots in d match. as to why nadal hates soderling check this out — Why Rafa hates Berdych and Soderling!!! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eog0TaQ1o3c).
    VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. dutchgirl says:

    I’m so glad it’s turned out to be payback time for Soderling. Can’t stand the guy and apparently, Rafa never has been fond of him either And yes, I miss swedish players like Edberg and Wilander too.

  10. faecoleman says:

    nadal has recently sorted out his differences between himself and Berdych, with Soderling thou he made a comment after their wimby match that Soderling is not a player who is respected on the tour, however, he hasn’t mentioned anything since then and I think last night he let his tennis do the talking enough to send the right message, as for Soderling he hasn’t changed has he? still behaving like a loser and has just a bad attitude period!

    • johanne says:

      very curious…what did you hear about the berdych situation? did they kiss and make up?? ;)

      • faecoleman says:

        Yeah they sorted out they’re differences after the Madrid match, or so they said on Sky Sports.com.

  11. dutchgirl says:

    Luckily there aren’t that many players like him around. I always feel there’s a lot of respect among most of the players on the tour and that’s how it’s supposed to be.