Nadal suffers shock elimination
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:31
Having never lost in the French Open, Nadal was bidding to win a record fifth straight title but the Spaniard was sensationally knocked out by Soderling, the 23rd seed, in four sets.
The Swede triumphed over the world number one 6-2 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-2) in their fourth-round encounter to record one of the biggest upsets in the tournament’s history.
Soderling broke Nadal twice on the way to wrapping up a comfortable first set in just 34 minutes, and took his first service game in the second set to love.
Nadal hit back swiftly by breaking in the third game and was soon serving for the set at 5-4 up, but there was an unusual number of unforced errors creeping into the Spaniard’s game and he allowed Soderling to pull a break back and set up a tie-breaker.
The Swede crumbled at this point, conceding six consecutive points as Nadal took the tie-break 7-2 to level the match and having found some momentum, it looked like things were perfectly set for the defending champion to go on and win the match from there.
But Soderling had other ideas and having held his serve through the third set, he broke Nadal’s in the seventh game before serving out to love to take it 6-4.
Nadal was clearly rattled but a fightback appeared to be on the cards after an early break in the fourth set gave the Spaniard a 2-0 advantage.
But Soderling was playing the match of his life and broke back immediately, keeping his cool thereafter as the players headed for another tie-breaker.
When it came it was Soderling’s turn to dominate proceedings, the Swede overwhelming his opponent 7-2 to complete an incredible win.