Wow, Roger Federer just lost in the quarterfinals at the French Open to Robin Soderling. It’s quite unbelievable, but Soderling was impressive today. Soderling, if you remember, took out Nadal in the 4th round last year and this year again takes out the defending champion. Fed’s incredible run of 23 straight Grand Slam semifinal appearances has finally come to an end.
It had to happen some day but I honestly didn’t think it would happen today. Federer came out strong in the first set but his serve and overall level dropped while Soderling improved. He kept crushing returns deep back to Federer and just making huge shots like he’s capable of.
A slam without Federer in the semifinals. It feels kind of weird. I’m kind of sad. As unlikely as some people think it is, I think Fed always has a good chance against Nadal in a FO final. I thought if maybe he could pull out another FO title, a calendar slam would be in play. But alas, it was not to be.
Soderling better back this up and get to the final. If he crashes out against Berdych, that would be so lame. Federer will lose the #1 ranking if Nadal wins the title. Even if Nadal doesn’t do it, Nadal will still get #1 back if he makes any progress at Wimbledon because he didn’t play there at all last year. Fed had a great run from FO to the US Open last year, so he has to defend a ton of points. He has to do very well just to stay where he is while Nadal has a lot of room to move up since he didn’t play after the FO last year. Djokovic is also nipping right behind them, so it’s possible Fed could fall to #3 by the end of the year if he doesn’t do well this summer!
Could we be seeing the beginning of the end? Who knows, but it’s never that good an idea to bet against Fed. At the same time, Fed fans have to accept that you can’t fight time, and as Fed ages, his game will eventually decline, and he will not have a stranglehold on the No.1 ranking or Grand Slam tournaments. At the moment however, Fed is very much a favorite and a major contender at any tournament he enters.