Tag Archives: Robin Soderling

Lowlights and Faults: The Worst of Tennis 2015

Despite all the triumphs and highs of this 2015 season, there were certainly plenty of lows and sad moments both on the court and off. Here’s a look back at the less than fun times this year.
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Soderling – The Most Hated Man in Tennis?

Soderling Stays Focused at Indian Wells (Gudris)

While watching Robin Soderling play against Fernando Gonzalez yesterday at the Sony Ericsson Open, a match the Swede finally won 6-0, 6-7(3), 6-2, I was also “tweeting” to some fans, one of whom openly expressed bitter hate for Soderling and said regarding his win over Gonzalez, “that’s another life Soderling has ruined.”

What intrigues me about Soderling, aside from his intense demeanor and powerful forehand, is how a lot of fans downright hate him. Why is that?

It’s no big secret that before last year Soderling was known on tour as a hothead and not the most friendly guy in the locker room. Continue reading

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Ljubicic and Roddick – Unlikely Foes in Indian Wells Finals.

After posting my recent poll asking readers who they thought needed to win the women’s event at Indian Wells based on the opportunity there (the leading choice was Jelena Jankovic), the blog Tennis Talk, Anyone rightly pointed out that on the men’s side of the draw, no one needed a title win at Indian Wells more so than Andy Roddick.

Some might have given the American a chance to reach the finals but I doubt few would have given veteran Ivan Ljubicic any shot to get there. But with Ljubicic’s impressive win over Rafael Nadal today in the semifinals, it sets an intriguing matchup between two players who many had written off. Continue reading

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Indian Wells Sunday Thoughts – Is Nadal More Popular than Fed?

It’s been a long day down at Indian Wells. This is my first time attending early round action here and the vibe reminds me of the U.S. Open except things are little more laid back and little closer together. This is especially true of the practice courts which are right across from the main stadium and draw almost bigger crowds than the main matches. Sure, it’s fun to see Rafael Nadal, Kim Clijsters and Roger Federer practice. For about a minute. Why people want to waste their paid ticket staring at someone hit drills is beyond me? Continue reading

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ATP Crystal Ball for 2010.

2010 will be a transition year for the ATP Tour even though the winners may look the same. Here are my predictions for the ATP men again ranked where I think they will end up at year’s end.

1. Roger Federer. To think that “Fed” won’t win another Slam or two next year is highly unlikely. Federer’s consistency week in and week out will help keep his top ranking intact. But this could be his last year of total domination. The real question for Federer, especially after winning the French Open, is what will motivate him to keep going after winning everything. Maybe a chance at a true Grand Slam?

2. Juan Martin Del Potro. That’s right. The big man from Argentina will be chasing Federer all year. Injuries and still a nagging lack of belief could hinder him but I expect Delpo to win another Slam. Could the French be next?

3. Novak Djokovic. The “Falcon” has returned with the fire and belief that was lost for most of 2009. He could win a Slam but he’ll have to keep up the balancing act between being “the class clown” and his intensity which rubs some fans the wrong way. Look for him to come into Australia with a vengeance.

4. Rafael Nadal. I know. I know. The Nadal fans are going to attack me for this but I believe that the Nadal “mystique” is over and the top guys on tour have finally figured out how to play him. I like him in the French for sure but how his body holds up will be the story next year.

5. Andy Murray. I don’t understand the obsession with Murray. He’s a talented player but it’s been proven if you attack him ala Marin Cilic, Roger Federer you will win. His mental toughness is still an issue and he needs a big shot to help him win cheap points. I’m still not convinced Murray has the game to win a Slam. He’ll get close, maybe even a final, but I doubt he’ll win one next year.

6. Nikolay Davydenko. Is this the year the hardest working man on tour finally wins a Slam? Maybe. He certainly proved in Shanghai and the ATP Finals that he can beat anyone especially with his improved serve and net play. But how he holds up in best 3 of 5 matches is the real question. Plus, will fans finally get behind the “unsexy” Russian? I like his chances in Australia better than anywhere else.

7. Andy Roddick. As the ’09 Wimbledon final was a defining match for Roddick, I feel like 2010 is the last hope for him to win one more Slam. He’s in great shape more or less (unless the knee becomes a bigger issue) and coach Larry Stefanki has got him playing better, but if he’s going to do it, this is it. Maybe the U.S. Open?

8. Robin Soderling The lanky Swede proved his French Open runner-up spot was no fluke as he continued his strong play late in the season. He certainly believes he can beat the top players, but does he have the game to prevail in the later stages, especially against Federer? He might get close this year at the Slams but I don’t see him breaking through yet.

9 through 15. Take your pick. Tsonga, Verdasco, Gonzalez, Simon, Monfils, Haas. All these guys have gotten close but no cigar. 2010 could be their “this is it” moment to finally breakthrough. But don’t count on it. Anyone of them could make a Slam final but Jelena Jankovic has more chances than these guys.

Wildcards – Sam Querrey. Querrey certainly had a decent 2009 and I can see him getting into the top 15 but winning a Slam feels out of reach.

Marin Cilic – Could the super tall Croat have a Del Potro like year and finally break into the top 10? Watch out for him at Wimbledon where his big serve and volley game should pay dividends.

Lleyton Hewitt – With his health restored, Hewitt finds himself back in the top 20 again. Can he finally win the Australian Open? Sure, if Federer gets knocked out early.

Richard Gasquet – Now that he’s back on tour, 2010 will be the year when we find out if he has what it takes to get back into the top 10 or just be the punchline to one of the more bizarre storylines of 2009.

James Blake – For all the talent, Blake has never lived up to his potential. Something could happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if 2010 is his last year.

John Isner – He’s got the big serve and had a breakthrough win against Andy Roddick at the U.S. Open but he needs a bigger game overall if wants to even crack into the top 20.

David Nalbandian – He finally returns after enduring hip surgery. But has the highly talented Argentine been eclipsed by the younger Del Potro?

Plenty of other players I could mention as well with their own chances at glory next year. Let me know what you think!

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Soderling Holds His Nerve Against Djokovic.

Robin Soderling continued his confident run in the Barclays ATP World Tour finals by defeating Novak Djokovic. 7-6 (5), 6-1.

The first set showed both players battling nerves and less than stellar play despite some very long rallies. Soderling was able to get to 0-40 on Djokovic’s serve at 4-5 but Djokovic came up with big serves to hold on and win the game eventually forcing things to a tiebreak. But Soderling was the one who held his nerve, especially after missing a backhand volley early on but sticking another one for a winner at 4-4.

Djokovic looked flat throughout and often berated himself for no reason. The second set he quickly went down 0-40 at 1-1. After a super long rally at 15-40, Djokovic tried a lame drop shot that went into the net giving Soderling the break at 2-1. Soderling broke him again at 4-1 and then again at 5-1 to win the match.

With the win, Soderling qualifies for the semifinals of the event and will move up to No. 8 in the world. Djokovic will next have to battle Rafael Nadal in a must win match for both to qualify for the semis.

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Soderling Devours Nadal in London.

Soderling Gives a Victory Howl (GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images).

Robin Soderling lived up to his darkhorse billing in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals by earning a convincing win over Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4.

Soderling’s length of shot, especially on his forehand side, kept Nadal at bay throughout the match. After winning the first set, Soderling held his nerve especially while serving 2-3 in the second set. The game took eleven minutes and Soderling wasted multiple chances to close it out before finally doing so.

With Nadal serving to stay in the match at 4-5, Soderling stayed with Nadal during a very long rally and eventually forced a match point. Soderling’s forehand went long on the next point but he managed to get another match point with a backhand winner. The next point saw Nadal push a forehand long sealing the win for Soderling who let out a howl of delight.

After the match Soderling said, “I managed to play really well on the important points and served well throughout. There’s a long way to go but I’ve got off to a great start. Winning against the world number two is not bad. I’ve got to take one game at a time and hopefully come Sunday I will be pleased with how I’ve done.”

It’s a great win for Soderling but I’m a little perturbed at the use of the words “shock” and “surprise” by some over Nadal losing. Nadal has not played his best late in the season and Soderling was not in awe of Nadal or the surroundings. Whether Soderling can build on this win during the rest of the event remains to be seen, but he certainly proved his last minute arrival in London was not a fluke.

BTW, do you think Soderling could play a part in the “Twilight” movies? He certainly has the “fangs” for it.

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