Friday, June 5, 2009

The French Open Men's Final

by Savannah

Roger Federer

Robin Soderling

May the best man win.

Edited to Add:

Fernando Gonzalez blasted his way into the men's semifinals dismantling Andy Murray along the way. If he had played at the same level this match I would've been very surprised. Gonzo has played well enough to win a tournament before. I remember how he played in Melbourne a couple of years ago and wondered if he'd be able to play with all cylinders burning two matches in a row.
I'm not sure if what happened is a result of Soderling not letting him play that way or of Gonzalez being Gonzalez.

As the match went on Gonzalez, unable to execute his game plan grew increasingly frustrated while the crowd grew increasingly silent.

That was the main story to me. The other day it seemed as if they were all for the man from Sweden but today no matter what he did they basically sat on their hands. The only people who seemed to be excited were the people from Sweden and even they had to be rallied by Mats Wilander who tried to reassure fans that Soderling is really a nice guy and that he can say that because Soderling is a friend of his. Let's not forget Mats presented Soderling to the world as a guy who doesn't give a shit about anyone on the tour.

It's been widely reported that Soderling doesn't have a fan following in his native country either- one commentator is rumored to have used the word "despised" to describe Soderling's relationship with players and fans in Sweden - so it's nice to know that he has a friend in Mats, and maybe Bjorn Borg.

Juan Martin del Potro is a phlegmatic young man. I'm sure he knows how to laugh, cry and blow off steam but he doesn't do it on the tennis court. He simply goes about the business of playing tennis which he does very well. When he is on he plays beautiful tennis especially when on a hard court. Clay is not his surface but with Chatrier playing faster this year he was kind of in his element. But when he had a chance to take the match in the fourth set he tensed up and his chance to make the final was gone. It doesn't help that prior to the match Juan Martin had said that it would be nice if Federer won the tournament.

With the crowd solidly on his side Federer managed to push himself over the finish line. The hype machine was already in full swing and with his combined record against his fellow semi finalists standing at 38-1(Gonzo having the sole win) I'd think he was pretty confident. Del Potro played extremely well though and I began to wonder if Roger would have to give himself a "calm period" if he lost.

So the "people's choice" will face the man who "doesn't give a shit" in the men's final on Sunday. As I said initially, may the best man win.


Helen W said...

Well, one finalist has had most of his major threats taken out by other players, and has been gifted a dream draw, replete with a panoply of players known to choke against him. The other finalist took out the acknowledged King of Clay, and has thus had to take over his tricky draw, which he has done with considerable aplomb.

I know who I will be rooting for!

María said...

Savannah! I was hoping to read your impressions on those matches!

I couldn't do much, I was speechless and torn in both matches.

This RG has been nuts to say the least.

vw said...

and I hope Soderling can do it. Delpo took two sets off Fed, a first for him. More and more guys are doing it nowadays. Roger is vulnerable.

rabbit said...

Go Roger!! Just one more match! :)

Savannah said...

I thought about it and added some comments Maria.

I still reach the same conclusion. :)

Helen W said...

Go Soddy! Just one more match!

BTW, has anyone noticed that if you combine LOAT (Luckiest Of All Time) with GOAT, you get GLOAT? Please spare us.

rabbit said...

Respecting a fellow player doesn't mean JMDP doesn't have any guts or confidence. Rafa does the same. Blake said that he'd want Roger to win the Olympics, right before beating him.

Beth said...

Savannah, love your comment about how it didn't help that DelPotro said Federer should win the tournament. Priceless. Yes, it does start (and end) between the ears, doesn't it? Loved your write up. :-)

vw said...

An insightful comment from a poster on another blog:
Wilander told Soderling to show no respect to anyone, basically to “punk” guys, especially Nadal. He said to not let Nadal dictate anything - the delay at coin toss, the delay leaving the locker oom, etc. - i.e., disturb his rituals and his head as much as possible. And make all of them think you’re their equal or better, so as not to be intimidated by better players (it’s a tough sell in the locker room, because all those guys KNOW Soderling isn’t better than a lot of them). All this stems from Wilander’s own story, who showed up on the tour at 16 and was hugely terrified and intimidated by McEnroe, Connors, and a host of other punk types. His desire was to have Soderling not feel like he was losing matches before they walk out there.