8:59 A.M: Good morning. It is now time for the men's final at Roland Garros. The match will feature Rafael Nadal and Robin Soderling.
9:02: Small chance of rain in Paris today. Match should start in about eight minutes.
9:03: Players are taking court. The stands are not completely full yet. This has been a problem so far. For the men's semis, hardly half of Phillipe Chatrier (center court) was filled.
9:05: There is only one person ever to beat Rafael Nadal in this tournament. That person is his opponent today, Robin Soderling. He beat him last year. And wow, wouldn't it be something to beat Federer and Nadal in one major final? Talk about putting yourself on the map, Soderling has done that within the course of one amazing year.
9:12: Match still hasn't started. But we should be in about two minutes. Did you know that Rafael Nadal has not only not lost a set, but has not faced a set point.
9:15: And we are a go. Soderling misses a backhand on the first point. Soderling is serving. He evens it 15-15
9:16: Soderling has had an unbelievable tournament. He has beaten Laurent Recouderc, Taylor Dent, Albert Montanes, Marin Cilic, Roger Federer in four, and Tomas Berdych in five. And now he leads 1-0, first set, on serve.
9:19: Great point as Nadal takes the first point of the second game. Nadal has taken out Gianni Mina (who went to the semis in the juniors), Horacio Zeballos, Lleyton Hewitt, Tomaz Bellucci, Nicolas Almagro, and Jurgen Melzer. Not what I call a hard draw.
9:22: Nadal takes game two to stay on serve. Hey everyone, feel free to leave any comments and we can then address them on the blog. Soderling quickly takes a 40-0 lead in game three.
9:24: Soderling holds at love. Both players look calm and ready. Sometimes in finals, you see erratic breakes to start matches because of nerves, but this match seems to be going smoothly so far.
9:25: Boy do these guys get something on their ground strokes. Should this match go five, well, I don't know what to expect. 30-15 on Nadal's serve, on serve.
9:26: Wild miss-hit forehand for Nadal, 30-30. Nadal is a fierce player. He gives it everything he has on every point against any opponent. Another miss hit, and it is break point!
9:30: Ooooo, Soderling just misses the easy backhand, it goes long, and we go to deuce.
9:31: Nadal holds, 2-2. However he is not playing his best tennis as of late. He really struggled in the final set vs. Melzer, as he was making a lot of errors, the miss-hits he usually makes. Let's see if he can calm down today.
9:33: Poll question; is it better or worse to have a hard draw coming into a final?
9:34: Nadal stops play to challenge a point, loses. But now he has break point 30-40.
9:36: Courageous point by Rafa, trying to stay in it, but he loses it, deuce. But now it is his advantage, 40-A.
9:37: And Nadal gets the break! 3-2! Soderling is known to have a bad temper, will he be able to keep his cool with Nadal in the lead?
9:40: Nadal takes a quick 30-15 lead.
9:41: And Nadal holds, 4-2, first set. Soderling takes the first point of the next game.
9:44: After going up 40-0, Nadal is back in it, 40-30. Then Soderling double faults, deuce.
9:46: WHAT A POINT. Both players are relentless. Soderling hits the tape and we are back at deuce.
9:47: Soderling is looking somewhat fatigued, AD Nadal. Then Soderling gets a break on a ball that may have been out, which later forced a Nadal miss-hit. Deuce.
9:49: Soderling seems to be underestimating Nadal. AD Nadal. Then a huge forehand winner for Soderling.
9:50: AD Soderling. Then he plays a great point to force Nadal to miss, 4-3, Nadal up a break.
9:54: Soderling needs to break soon, 15-15 on Nadal's serve.
9:55: Now it 30-30. Crucial point coming up. And Nadal DOUBLE FAULTS! Break point!
9:57: Soderling one break point, but has another. He is 0-2 so far.
9:58: Terrible return for Soderling, deuce.
9:59: Apperantly Soderling does not understand the gravity of the match, as he keeps losing the points he needs to win. 5-3, Nadal up a break...still.
10:01: Soderling is just messing up, not playing right. 0-40.
10:02: Soderling comes back! Deuce.
10:03: Swinngg and a miss! Nadal is down game point. Then Soderling holds, 5-4. As the French say, "Ah, Mon Dieu"!
10:05: Soderling needs to break to stay in the set, as Nadal wins the first point.
10:07: Soderling needs to come up with something big right now. 30-0, Nadal. Then he gets one back, 30-15.
10:08: Great point for Soderling! 30-30!
10:15: Nadal has eight erros, Soderling has 22. 40-15 game one, second set, Soderling serving.
10:17: Nadal is just unbelievable. He can hit anything back. Well not, anything, as Soderling takes game one.
10:18: 0-30, as Soderling has a chance to break. This would be his first break of the match.
10:21: Nadal saves the first break chance. 30-40. Soderling is 0-4 on break chances. Make that 0-5. Deuce.
10:23: And Soderling will have another chance, it is his AD.
10:24: Soderling had many chances to win that, but intstead cannot put away the overhead. 0-6. Soderling will have yet ANOTHER chance, it is his AD.
10:26: If Soderling cannot get back mentally he will lose quickly. Deuce. Now it is Nadal's AD.
10:27: Nadal holds. Soderling needs to forget about all those missed chances if he wants to stay in the match. Oooh, Soderling hits won off the tape, then rolls down the net. 15-0. Now it is 30-0.
10:29: Important win for Soderling. He needs to get back mentally, 2-1, on serve, set two.
10:31: Play has been suspended for several minutes because a fan in the stands has collapsed. Reasons are unknown.
10:33: We have resumed, Nadal up 40-0.
10:34: Nadal holds, and now leads 0-30.
10:36: Nadal breaks at love. He is up 3-2. This is crucial. He now has the lead to go up two sets.
10:38: Nadal just gets to literally everything. 15-15.
10:40: Nadal holds. 4-2. Soderling will have two more chances to break, if he doesn't then he might as well kiss his champs hopes goodbye.
10:43: Break point for Nadal, as Soderling double faults. But he gets it back with a forehand winner.
10:45: Soderling doesn't look like he is even trying. He gets broken, and assuming Nadal holds, he will be down two sets.
10:50: Soderling all but gives away that last game. Nadal has won 21 of the last 26 points. And although Nadal has not lost a set all tournament, he will need to lose three in a row in order for Soderling to have a win.
10:54: There is one main difference from what I am seeing in this match and Nadal's semi-final match vs. Melzer. Melzer fought for every point and did not give up until it was a final. Soderling is looking like he knows it is over. Break point. Disgraceful.
10:57: Nadal breaks in the first game, but Soderling has a 0-30 lead.
10:58: I have to say this is one of the most pathetic final's that I have seen. Break point for Soderling, 30-40.
11:00: Not so sure if Soderling is telling his correct age. He is playing like he might be in his mid-60's.
11:02: Nadal holds. Thought this would be a good match. I was a little off.
11:04: Soderling holds at love. Now he needs a break.
11:11: Soderling holds. He is one break away from getting himself back in the match. But he is 0-8 on break points. Poll question: Will Soderling get a break this match?
11:17: Nadal holds. This has been a dull match. Soderling has given up. A disgraceful effort from Soderling.
11:24: Soderling holds, and is now even 15-15 in an attempt to get back in this third set.
11:29: Both Nadal and Soderling hold. Nadal will serve for the match.
11:33: And after the wave takes over Phillipe Chatrier, RAFAEL NADAL WINS THE MATCH, AND THE CHAMPIONSHIP. HIS FIFTH! CONGRATULATIONS TO RAFA! Thank you for following. Until Wimbledon...
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