French Open 2011: Rafael Nadal Gets Revenge at Roland Garros

Candice Hare@@chare889Contributor IIIJune 1, 2011

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 01:  Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates a point during the men's singles quarterfinal match between Rafael Nadal of Spain and Robin Soderling of Sweden on day eleven of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 1, 2011 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal's first real test in this year's French Open took place on Wednesday, when he faced the fifth-seeded Robin Soderling for a place in the semifinals.

Luckily for Nadal, he passed this test with flying colors.

After struggling throughout the first week of the tournament, the top-seeded Spaniard easily defeated the only man to have beaten him at Roland Garros, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6(3).

Nadal was on point from the start of the match, as he took control of the rallies early and had very few unforced errors. In fact, in the second set, which he easily won 6-1, he only had a total of two unforced errors, which were offset by eight winners.

Soderling, on the other hand, was not able to put up any resistance to Nadal. His movement was poor, and he struggled with his first-serve percentage. Furthermore, Nadal was able to take advantage of the Swede's second serve, which further compounded his difficulties in the match.

Soderling did have a brief surge in the third set, as he was able to break Nadal's serve and consolidate that break in order to even the set at 2-2. He was then able to take the set to a tiebreak. Unfortunately for Soderling, Nadal took control in the breaker, as he quickly surged to a 4-1 lead that he never relinquished.

After winning in Monte Carlo and Barcelona to start off the clay-court season, Nadal looked poised to contend for his sixth French Open title. After subsequently being defeated in the finals of Madrid and Rome by Novak Djokovic and then struggling in his first four matches of the French Open, the world No. 1 looked vulnerable.

When faced with his first test at Roland Garros against a top player, Nadal was able to rise to the challenge. He will have to do the same if he wants to take the title, however, as it looks likely that the top four men in the world will all advance to the semifinals.

Related

    Stuttgart Open: World number one Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber through

    Tennis logo
    Tennis

    Stuttgart Open: World number one Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber through

    BBC Sport
    via BBC Sport

    Tennis defending its integrity despite warnings from Independent Review | Kevin Mitchell

    Tennis logo
    Tennis

    Tennis defending its integrity despite warnings from Independent Review | Kevin Mitchell

    Kevin Mitchell
    via the Guardian

    Congrats To The Tennis Integrity Unit Investigator Who Used "Tsunami" To Describe The Level Of Cheating In The Sport 

    Tennis logo
    Tennis

    Congrats To The Tennis Integrity Unit Investigator Who Used "Tsunami" To Describe The Level Of Cheating In The Sport 

    Laura Wagner
    via Deadspin

    Novak Djokovic woes worsen with defeat to qualifier in Barcelona Open

    Tennis logo
    Tennis

    Novak Djokovic woes worsen with defeat to qualifier in Barcelona Open

    Associated Press
    via the Guardian