Rafael Nadal Wins French Open 2010

rafael nadal - holding cup - french open 2010 Overcoming his surprising French Open 2009 defeat to Robin Soderling, Nadal easily beat his clay-court nemesis in this much-anticipated rematch.

This win is Nadal’s fifth French Open title and seventh grand-slam win. Nadal need only win one more French Open to match Borg’s record 6. He also tied Borg’s record of two French Open tournament’s without losing a set.

The first set was terrific. It looked like the maturing Soderling might do it again. But Soderling collapsed in the 2nd and third sets. Despite the tough first set, Rafael easily won the match.

rafael nadal and robin soderling holding French Open 2010 trophies It was a bit surprising how emotional Nadal was after his win. Having lost the French last year, followed by pulling out of Wimbledon, being injured for much of 2009 and having gone through the remainder of the year without winning another tournament, Nadal may have been questioning whether he had another slam in him. Given the caliber of his French Open play, I have little doubt that Nadal  has several more slams in him.

In his post game interview with John McEnroe, Nadal made the point that he is looking forward to the U.S. Open – the only slam he hasn’t won. This is interesting because normally players would say they were looking forward to Wimbledon.

Francesca Schiavone Wins 2010 French Open

francesca schiavone wins french open 2010 - holds up cup In what will probably be her only grand slam win, veteran Francesca Schiavone beat Samantha Stosur  6-4, 7-6 to win the 2010 French Open – a few days shy of her 30th birthday.

I must admit that I know little about Schiavone.  Turns out she is the first Italian woman to win any grand-slam in the modern era.

francesca schiavone and samantha stosur hold trophies at french open 2010Aussie Stosur was rather emotionless. Schiavone played with passion and grit. It was a pleasure to watch. The tennis quality from both was high. The match was terrific.

schiavone snuggles french open 2010 cup Stosur did the heavy lifting for Schiavone having previously taken out world #1 Serena Williams 6-2, 6-7(2), 8-6, four-time French Open winner Justine Henin 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 and world #4 Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 6-2.

Ultimately, it was nice to enjoy a well-played women’s French Open final. Something that doesn’t happen often enough.

Federer – The Best Tennis Player of All Time: French Open 2009

2009 french open - andre agassi hands roger federer the cup (click images in this post for larger views)

Tying Pete Sampras’ 14 slam titles, and with a career grand slam under his belt (only the 6th man in history to do that – Sampras never won the French), Roger Federer is now, undeniably, the best tennis player – ever!

Federer beat Robin Söderling (6-1, 7-6, 6-5) easily. Söderling took down Nadal the prior Sunday, paving the way for Federer’s historic win. In the three sets Roger:

  • lost just 17 points on his serve
  • wasn’t broken
  • served at 66%
  • hit 41 winners
  • suffered only 24 unforced errors

2009 french open - andre agassi hands runner-up trophy to robin soderling It was fun to watch my all time favourite men’s tennis player, Andre Agassi, present the trophies. Having won the French Open 10 years ago and being the last man to win the career grand slam, he was a fitting choice. It was nice to see his wife, Steffi Graf present the woman’s trophies.


2009 french open - federer's emotions pour out just after he wins tournament 2009 french open - federer collapses in front of 'Fed Ex' sign after winning the french open

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Svetlana Kuznetsova wins 2009 French Open

2009 french open - steffi graf presents trophy to svetlana kuznetsova

(click on images in post for larger view)

2009 french open - dinara safina sad after loosing french open finalIn yet another lack-luster women’s grand slam final, the world’s number 1, and my current women’s favourite, Dinara Safina,  was soundly beaten by Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-2.

2009 french open - svetlana kuznetsova celebrates her french open victory This is Kuznetsova’s second grand slam title (the first being the 2004 U.S. Open). Safina has still not won a major. Good for Kuznetsova! But it’s hard to cheer for someone who doesn’t seem to have much of a personality.

On the up side, it was really nice to watch a women’s grand slam final without the Williams’ sisters. It was also nice to see Steffi Graf again!

I miss Clijsters, Davenport, Henin and Hingis!

2009 french open - steffi graf presents runner up plate to dinara safina  2009 french open - svetlana kuznetsova kisses trophy  2009 french open - dinara safina all smiles at trophy ceremony

Nadal Crushes Federer to Win Fourth Consecutive French Open

Nadal nibbles on 2008 French Open trophy For the third consecutive year Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal met at the French Open finals.  I fully expected Nadal to win, but I did not expect a 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 blow-out.

With the exception of Federer’s reaching, but not capitalizing on, a break-point in the 2nd, the match was entirely Nadal’s – repeatedly breaking Federer’s serve. The Nadal-Djokovic semi-final was much more satisfying.

It was amusing to see Nadal inhibited by the opening ceremony restrictions. Normally after the pre-game photos and the coin-toss, Nadal charges from the net to the baseline to begin his warm-up. This time he had to wait (noticeably frustrated) until the huge opening ceremony flags were removed before he could make his trademark zig-zag run.

Nadal and Federer pose for pre-game photos at 2008 French Open Opening Ceremony at 2008 French Open Men's Finals Nadal frustrated by opening ceremony flags at 2008 French Open Nadal's trademark zig-zag catapulting run after the handshake at 2008 French Open

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Ivanovic Wins the 2008 French Open

Ivanovitch Holds 2008 French Open Trophy In a more competitive match than the 6-4, 6-3 score would suggest, Ana Ivanovic defeated the terrific Dinara Safina to win her first grand-slam title. Two days earlier she had become the world’s number 1 women’s tennis player after beating her fellow Serbian countrywoman Jelena Jankovic in the semi-finals.

Safina sticks out her tongue at 2008 French Open Safina played well, but not well enough. Not unlike her brother, her emotions too often got in the way. In her round of 16 and quarterfinal matches against Dementieva and Kuznetsova, she had come back from being a set and match-point down to prevail. Ivanovic was too good for this to work a third time.

Ivanovitch Kisses 2008 French Open TrophyIvanovic’s shots were strong and accurate. She played one of her best-ever matches, convincingly solid and steady throughout. She didn’t show any of the nervousness that kept her from winning the final against Sharapova at the 2008 Aussie Open and the final against Henin at the 2007 French Open. She’s come a long way from learning tennis in a war-torn Belgrade swimming pool.

Safina and Ivanovitch hold their 2008 French Open trophies This makes the seventh straight women’s French Open final that was won in straight sets. The last three-set women’s final was at the 2001 French Open – where Jennifer Capriati defeated Kim Clijsters.

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Men’s Semi-Finals at the 2008 French Open

Roland Garros 2008 Tennis Ball

As Bjorn Borg looked on (see pic below), Nadal decisively defeated Novak Djokovic in the first men’s semi final of the 2008 French Open. Nadal is now within one match of tying  Borg’s four-straight French Open win record.

I started watching, trying very hard not to root for either player. I wanted to revel in the sheer brilliance of their play alone. But I wasn’t able to do that for long.  While Djokovic put up an admirable fight, the match was clearly Nadal’s from the beginning.

Bjorn Borg Watches Nadal at 2008 French Open

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I’m Now Officially a Dinara Safina Fan

Dinara Safina at Match Point Against Dementieva at 2008 French Open I’ve found a new women’s professional tennis player to love. With shade’s of her brother’s flare and fire, Dinara Safina took down Sharapova and Dementieva in two successive come-from-behind French Open victories. These two matches have been my favourites of the French Open 2008 so far.

After being a set and two breaks down, Safina fought her way back, won the second set and routed Dementieva 6-0 in the third set of their quarter finals match. With this win Safina reaches her first-ever grand slam semi where she’ll be playing Kuznetsova.

[June 5, 2008 Update: I was delighted to see Safina take out Kuznetsova quite easily. She’s now headed to her first grand-slam final.]

Ana Ivanovic will be playing Jankovic in the other women’s semi-final. I will, of course, be cheering for Ivanovic in that one but, if Ivanovic and Safina both make it to the final, I’ll be cheering for my new-found tennis star – Safina.

[June 5, 2008 Update: With Ivanovic beating Jankovic in the other semi, this should be one of the better women’s slam finals in a long time.]

Interestingly, with her win in Berlin, Safina was the last player to play and beat Justine Henin before her retirement.

French Open 2008 First Week

French Open 2008 - NBC HD - Nadal There’s not much to love about this year’s French Open – so far. There wasn’t one memorable match in the first week.

Two of my favourites, Davenport (not playing for ‘personal reasons’) and Roddick (out for a rotator cuff injury) are not participating. Three time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten, one of my all-time favourites, formally retired from professional tennis this week after an early round loss (I’ll miss Guga). Clijsters’, Henin’s, & Agassi’s retirements have left big holes in the sport. Hingis was forced out of professional tennis due to a cocaine scandal. Baghdatis, Fish, Mauresmo, Safin, Blake, and V. Williams’ were all early round losers. Significant rain delays resulted in the poor already Super Signal coverage (see below) being even worse than usual.

On a happier note, it was a pleasure to see Hewitt go down to Ferrer and Serena Williams go down (once again with little grace or class) to Srebotnik. I was a Hewitt fan in his earlier years. But his success made him too cocky and arrogant for my tastes. Serena’s always been in my bad books with rarely a kind word for anyone.

French Open 2008 - NBC HD - FedererPerhaps I was spoiled with the terrific first week of tennis at the 2008 Aussie Open. The early round Roddick-Kohlschreiber and FedererTipsarevic matches there were probably some of the best matches I have seen in years.

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