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Monday, June 29, 2009

Preview: Federer v Soderling

Photo Titled Federer on the slide

Last year’s Wimbledon rematch of the French Open Final took place on the final day of The Championships. It was a match that upset the tennis world order and things haven’t been the same since. Rafael Nadal’s victory ended Roger Federer’s five-year domination at the All England Club, and it set in train a series of events that led to Nadal usurping Federer as the world No.1 and much more.

Monday’s French Open final rematch between Federer and Robin Soderling could upset the tennis world order even more...but only if Soderling wins. Since winning at Roland Garros and given his serene progress through the draw so far, Federer is being inked in by many as the 2009 champion.

Federer has never lost to the Swede in 10 encounters but, then again, Soderling knows something about springing a surprise. To reach the French Open final, he became the only man ever to beat Nadal at Roland Garros.

“If you asked me before Paris, I would say he's definitely more dangerous on grass than on clay, but then you saw all those great matches he played in Paris and you're worried, too,” Federer said.

”So he's definitely proven his point that he's a good all‑around player. I haven't actually thought about the match at all yet. But I think it's going to be interesting to see how he's going to enter that match after coping with such a long tournament in Paris and see how fresh he still is. But I've played him here in the past, and I've played him on grass a few times now.

“I've had success against him, but I know the danger because he hits extremely hard.”

This is uncharted territory at Wimbledon for Soderling, who will take heart from having beaten Nadal at the French Open.

He said: “Maybe it's the same challenge. It's very tough to beat Rafa on clay, and it's as tough to beat Roger on grass. But I made it once. We'll see. It's going to be a tough match, for sure.”

Soderling has never made it to the fourth round of Wimbledon before, but until Paris three weeks ago, he had never been in the final of an outdoor tournament. If the roof is closed over Centre Court and Soderling is technically indoors, could he upset the tennis world order again?

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