Google Down the Line!: Rafa + NaturAna hit the skids, get unceremoniously booted from Paris

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Rafa + NaturAna hit the skids, get unceremoniously booted from Paris

In a shock of all shocks in recent Grand Slam history, both defending champions at Roland Garros were knocked out of the tourney's fourth round today.

The biggest shock of 'em all came via Robin Soderling who played some uber-aggressive ball during his stunning 6-2 6-7(2) 6-4 7-6(2) upset of Rafael Nadal. It was Rafa's first loss ever in Paris and was denied a record-setting fifth consecutive crown. The stats told the tale: the Swede hit 61 winners to 33 for Rafa, hit 9 aces, converted on 5 of 6 break chances, and had a 77% success rate up at net.

Seriously, this is Roger Federer's golden egg (read: First French Open, Career Slam, Pete Sampras-tying 14th major) to win or lose with both Rafa + Nole out. He may never get this kind of opportunity again. And would it be the same win even if Fed didn't have to defeat Rafa for the title? HELL YEAH. A win's a win. But really, no pressure.

Ana Ivanovic seemed to be rounding into solid form having lost only 6 games in her last 2 matches. But her shaky confidence, as evidenced by the return of her wayward service toss, was exposed by Victoria Azarenka who was the more aggressive baller on-court. The Belarusian earned an easy 6-2, 6-3 win and inflicted another early exit from a Grand Slam on the Serb.

In fact, the last time NaturAna made it past the fourth round of any major was during her championship run in Paris last year. I'm getting visions of a Svetlana Kuznetsova career moment here. Not a good sign.

(images: getty)


  1. Not shocking for Ana, but for Rafa?
    What's very weird, is last night I was talking to a friend about when (and I was thinking a few years down the line) Rafa finally loses at the FO. As much as I lust, I mean lurv Rafa, I was saying that it would be historical for the game, and therefore I would be excited by his first loss. Sad for him, but excited for the guy that beats him. NEVER once did Soderling enter my mind as "The Guy Who Beat Rafa."

    I agree with you, Richie. If Federer doesn't win now, he never will win a French. I wouldn't mind seeing a Frenchie win it, but it would also be great to see Roger win. I think I'll fly to Mallorca and contemplate this...and perhaps fondle, I mean seduce, I mean cheer up Rafa. ;)

  2. natch: Yeah NaturAna's boot was not a shocker but to see both defending champs go out in the same round is always a stunner.

    Not surprisingly Rafa seemed very despondent, edgy almost, in his post-match presser. He did mention hitting his swimming pool at his home as part of his recovery.

    You may be wise to book that ticket to Mallorca sooner than later. He'll need some serious cheering up...and down.

  3. I gave up on Ana almost a year ago, so anytime she wins, it surprises me.
    I hope Safina can take this home now.

    One thing is for sure. This FO just got a whole lot more interesting. I wonder what all the guys left are thinking? I would be running around, bouncing off walls.

    *speaks to pilot*
    Alright, you can drop me off right over that pool. Don't worry, I won't need any clothes...
    *grabs tequila and jumps*

  4. Federer Drop ShotMay 31, 2009 at 5:32 PM

    My pick on the women's side is Victoria Azarena

  5. Actually, it's his 3rd loss in Paris - his first loss in Paris ON CLAY at RG.

  6. surprising surprising. i found it extremely interesting reading dementieva's press conference yesterday. All the ladies have been asked the same question: whether or not they think rafael is beatable. needless to say, everyone was very flattering, but elena said that she had a hard time seeing him hold up the trophy because he did not look strong that point rafael just finished demolishing i dunno, does elena know something we don't :P
    of course i kid, but i just found it interesting how what we see in previous matches does not necessarily tell us everything. safina dropping 5 games is huge, but definitely not indicative of anything, she really hasn't been pushed at all up till now. i think azarenka is going to be a tought test.

  7. BRB gutted.

    It's not even that it's the loss that hurts, I mean we knew it had to come eventually. But it's that the loss had to come from this HIM of all people.

  8. Vika needs to beat Safina and then duke it out with Masha. I hope JJ can take it all.

  9. I have a feeling Federer's going to lose. It just looks too good for him. Maybe that's my fear speaking because I really want him to win but I don't want to get my hopes up. Imagine Fed winning this and beating Pete's record. There would be no argument as to who's the best because Fed would have accomplished something Sampras didn't: winning them all. C'mon Fed.

  10. I can't believe both defending champs are out on the same day. I really hope Fed can win RG. He deserves it.

  11. just like Natch yesterday I was at a dinner party, and tennis was brought up, my uncle started teasing me abt RG, and tht Nadal is soo good, n Fed isn't playin too well, etc. we started discussing if Rafa would ever lose, when it would n against whom. HAH to wake up this morning turn on the laptop n read Rafa Nadal stunned in the 4th round by robin S. was a shocker...though it didn't sink in till I saw the re-run of the match.
    How I would lurrrvee to see Fed whole tht trophy in his hand.

    as for the women, I see Dinara in the final, she's put up a strong performance n though she hasn't really been tested by anyone, she's looking good for this one.

    who do u think its gonna b for the finals now folks? any guesses (for both men's n womens')

  12. Anonymous No.2 I agree with you completely. Fed has been playing flaky of late. I really want him to win RG this year. I've been thinking for months that this year is his year. The planets seem to have moved into alignment for him. Lets hope he doesn't screw this up. I'm not getting my hopes up because I can't take any more shocks or disappointments. And I really can't take Murray being world no. 2.

  13. I'm with you guys....c'mon Fed!! He will never be presented with such an awesome opportunity again. I hope he isn't thinking too far ahead though...if Nadal can lose to Soderling, Fed can lose to anybody. Acasuso had him on the ropes, so it won't be smooth sailing, but it's his to win...

  14. I was in shock yersterday. The worst thing was that he lost to Soderling, my least favourite player on the tour..

  15. Sabine, totally agreed. Of all people it had to be that prick Soderling, who has been bugging me since he made fun of Rafa during a Wimbledon match.

    Oh well, he had to lose eventually. I surely didn't expect it to happen that soon though. But that's tennis I guess - anything can happen.

    As for Fed winning this: We'll see.

  16. Naturally, after being named the favourite, Federer down 2 sets to love to Haas....

  17. thankfully took the third...for God's sakes fed, turn it around!!! ull never forgive urself!

  18. I'm going to miss that pink so much. :o(

  19. I know it's bad that Rafa lost. But maybe this isn't the great tragedy of all times. He was going to lose, sooner or later. I'm sure he felt the pressure to keep winning. Maybe, in some small way, this will release some of that pressure.

  20. I'm still in complete and utter shock, especially having seen Rafa dismantle Hewitt so easily. I just didn't see him losing at RG this year, to anyone, nevermind Soderling.

    As for Fed, I'm not convinced that he'll win it. The way he was pushed against Acasuso and Haas, I just don't know if he'll stand up to someone like Juan Martin del Potro or maybe even Gael Monfils.

    The women... I'm still rooting for Safina to win her first major here, I just hope she can keep up her form. Pity that she's in the same half as Masha, who I'd have liked to have seen in the final. But all my predictions have been wrong so far...

  21. Söderling has eaten giant meatballs from day 1 of his life.

  22. Of the guys left, I'll take Roger, Murray, or Monfils as a winner. If anybody else wins, it won't seem right.

    Of the women, Serena, Dinara, or Maria will win. Sveta has such a chance, but I'm afraid her mental woes will do her in. My hopes are def on Dinara!

  23. The fourth round. The FOURTH ROUND!!
    And to Sour Soderling! Who had the nerve to beat Davy today!
    *bursts into tears*

    *prays for Roger*

  24. m Sour Soderling shall be what I call him from now on too :P

    he ripped apart Davy :| I just can't believe it....its those random things when a player gets this surge of 'mojo' or w/e and just blast their way to win :s

    well we'll see just how long Sour Soderling lasts


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