Roger Federer and Robin Soderling are in for a heavy weight clash. The two are set to meet in the fourth round at Centre Court at Wimbledon.
The pair met in the recently concluded French Open finals where the Swiss master finally conquered his much deserved grand slam, setting him as a front runner for the greatest player of all time.
At Roland Garros the Swede was in ominous form throughout the tournament. Federer clearly had an upper hand, taking the first set and exploiting the Swede's ungainly movement as well as his lack of big match experience.
A late resistance by Soderling in the second and third sets was to no avail, as Federer cruised to victory in straight sets.
Magnus Norman and his student Soderling should learn from their previous mistakes and should come up with a modified strategy to take on a highly confident Swiss, one who is rearing to clock his 15th slam.
This being a fourth round, the Tibro native should be feeling less nervous than when he last played Federer in the French Open finals. That should allow him to play a better first set compared to his performance during their last encounter.
Soderling's first serve and his forehand should be working in tandem in order to create an opening against the King of Grass. He won his first two matches in four sets and had put a better a performance against Almagro in the third round to win in three sets.
Federer on the other hand lost his first set in the tournament to Philipp Kohlschreiber but stamped his authority in the fourth set to seal the match in four sets. He knows a thing or two on winning a Grand Slam on grass and he would bring in all his decade long experience into account should the match head to a decider.
When asked his thoughts after the French Open final, Soderling had no hesitation in accepting Federer is the best player of all time. If he has the same mind set before they lock horns on grass then it is safe to assume the result would be even lop-sided than their last meeting.
Soderling is winning but has been winning ugly to come his far. But it should be the return of the ugly Soderling that should plant seeds of uncertainity in the Swiss' head.
This block buster match between two Leos of all the other fourth round encounters should provide the viking duo of Norman and Soderling one more opportunity to analyse their strategies which they had worked on their drawing boards and see if they could implement them on real time on grass.
The only difference since they last encountered could be, Federer would not be having a wry smile as they enter the stadium before they line up to launch powerful ground strokes at one another.
Soderling would love to say, "No one can beat me 11 times in a row" but Federer would not like to reveal his plans till he takes care of his business which could probably culminate on the second Sunday at the prestigious championships.
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