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.
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.
Here are the Nike tennis shows worn by Nadal in the French Open 2010 final against Soderling. For the second year running he has only four winning icons on the shoe. Thanks to his 2010 win, we’ll be seeing five next year! 🙂
When Rafael Nadal’s tripped in the third set, Mary Carillo said this picture will be famous if Nadal goes on to loose – even suggesting a title – “the Champ goes Down”. How prescient! I’m doing my part to fulfill her prophecy.
In what was a surprising and yet terrific match, Nadal’s 2007 Wimbledon nemesis,Robin Soderling (they played a 5 setter lasting 5 days due to rain delays), did something nobody has ever done before – beat Nadal at the French Open. Amazing!
This sets Federer up to accomplish three big things next Sunday:
- winning his first French Open;
- thereby giving him a career grand slam; and
- tying Pete Sampras’s 14 major title record.
Assuming, that is, that Federer makes it to the finals next week. This is Federer’s big break. I’ll be cheering for him.
On a related note, Azarenka defeated the 2009 French Open women’s champion, Ana Ivanovic, in straight sets. That isn’t much of a surprise to me. I have thought for some time that Ivanovic was over-rated. Go Safina go!
These are the Nike, Max-air, LunarLite tennis shoes Rafael Nadal was wearing today when Robin Soderling took him down in the quarter finals at the French Open 2009.
Note the four tennis-ball-with-flame insignia’s for each of his 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 French Open titles.
Click on all images for larger views.
Once again I’m posting pictures of the designer sneakers worn by Rafael Nadal at the 2009 Australian Open. As always, the bull logo appears on the left shoe with ‘Rafa’ on the right. Now that he has won an Aussie Open, we can expect an Aussie Open trophy on next year’s sneakers! 🙂
I am astonished by how much traffic these pictures of his designer tennis bring to The Daleisphere. What the heck. You want it, I’ll blog about it.
[Click images for larger views.]
Nadal def. Federer: Nadal won his first major on a hard court while denying Federer‘s attempt to match Sampras’ 14 major record. This marks the first time a Spaniard has won the Aussie Open. The high level of play we saw in the 2008 Wimbledon final continued into the early sets of the Aussie final. Given the record setting five hour, fourteen minute semi between Nadal and Verdasco, Federer’s attempted to capitalize on Nadal’s fatigue. It didn’t work. Nadal did seem tire out early on but was resilient enough to take it to a fifth set where Federer appeared to wither. Nadal’s strategy, to constantly serve and return to Federer’s backhand worked.
Federer broke down in tears during his acceptance speech. He had to walk away to compose himself. He stood their crying for what seemed like an eternity as the crowed cheered. He finished his speech, fighting back the tears after Nadal picked up his trophy. I’ve never seen anything like that.
Trivia Tidbit: The coin toss is irrelevant for every Federer/Nadal match. No matter who wins, Nadal always elects to server and Federer always elects to receive.
S. Williams def. Safina: Serena Williams embarrassed Dinara Safina in a 6-0, 6-3 loss lasting less than an hour. This was Williams’ fourth Aussie Open win and 10th grand slam title. Safina’s performance tournament-wide was less than spectacular. She needs more work. She apologized to the crowd for her poor performance. The crowd forgave her.
Continue reading “Australian Open (2009) Second Week – Nadal and Serena Win”
Below is a roundup of my thoughts and observations concerning the first week matches at the 2009 Australian Open.
Click on the photos below to view full-sized versions.
Nadal Tweaks his Game & His Outfit: Number 1 seeded Nadal has changed his service stance (a little more open, left leg further back and tighter in) to try and get more speed on his serve. It seems to be working so far. His average first serve speed at the Aussie Open in 2009 is 113 mph. His average speed in 2008 was 109 mph. He is also dropping the elbow close to the body to take topspin off his forehand and flattening his forehand to work better on the slower Australian courts. As for fashion, his shorts are a little shorter and he has shirt sleeves for the first time. You’d think that with all his millions, he’d be able to hire a designer to solve his constant wedge problem. But no, he was tugging at the back of his new shorts as much as he ever has.
Roddick: Roddick lost 15 pounds in the off-season. He lost the weight to gain speed. Speed is needed to compete with the top players these days. Fabrice Santoro did Roddick a big favor by knocking out Kohlschreiber in the second round. Kohlschreiber defeated Roddick at the 2008 Aussie Open. I’m looking forward to his next match with Djokovic (assuming Djokovic beats Baghdatis) in the quarters. I’ll be cheering for Roddick! Is it just me, or does that KIA logo make you hunger for a Kit-Kat too?
Continue reading “Australian Open (2009) – First Week Roundup”
Official Wimbledon Site | Men’s Draw | Ladies’ Draw |
Wow! John McEnroe opined that the 2008 Wimbledon men’s final was the best match he’d ever seen. At 4 hours and 48 minutes it was certainly the longest (the previous record was the 1982 Connors v. McEnroe final at 4 hours, 16 minutes). I loved it, stomach twisting and turning all the way.
In the end Rafael Nadal won the a gut-wrenching five set 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7 match that spanned two rain delays and threatened to go into Monday. Nadal had two championship points in the 3rd and 4th sets that Roger Federer managed to stave off. But Nadal was just too good. As hard as it is for me to say it, Nadal deserved that win. Point for point he chased down everything Federer threw at him.
(Nadal collapses after his hard-fought win)
(Nadal hugs trophy – Federer contemplates defeat)
Continue reading “Wimbledon 2008 – Nadal and Venus Win Championship”
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.
Continue reading “Nadal Crushes Federer to Win Fourth Consecutive French Open”
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.
Continue reading “Men’s Semi-Finals at the 2008 French Open”