FRENCH OPEN

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FRENCH OPEN

Post  junkman on Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:49 am

Paris, France (Sports Network) - Four-time champion Rafael Nadal and third- seeded Novak Djokovic reached the quarterfinals at the French Open on Monday.

The second-seeded former world No. 1 Nadal won his 19th straight match, on all red clay, with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 victory over rising 24th-seeded Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci.

Nadal held off Bellucci in 2 hours, 33 minutes, as the powerful Spaniard piled up eight service breaks while the Brazilian piled up 40 unforced errors.

The six-time major champion Nadal is now 35-1 lifetime at Roland Garros, including titles here from 2005-08. He was stunned, while battling very sore knees, by Swede Robin Soderling in the fourth round here a year ago.

Nadal, who has won his last three tournaments -- Masters ones in Monte Carlo, Rome and Madrid, has yet to drop a set here and is trying to become only the second man in the Open Era to capture five French Open titles, joining Bjorn Borg, who titled here on six occasions.

The gritty Nadal's quarterfinal opponent will be fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, who toppled seventh-seeded compatriot Fernando Verdasco 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 on Monday. Verdasco had been one of the hotter players in recent weeks, having titled on clay in Barcelona and finished as the runner-up at the Monte Carlo Masters, against Nadal, and Nice.

The 19th-seeded Almagro will appear in his second quarterfinal here in the last three years. He's a dismal 0-6 lifetime against his fellow countryman Nadal, including a quarterfinal setback in Paris two years ago.

The former Australian Open champion Djokovic, meanwhile, drove out unseeded Robby Ginepri 6-4, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 on Day 9. Ginepri was the last American standing in the men's draw.

The 23-year-old Djokovic broke Ginepri five times in the 2-hour, 17-minute affair.

"I thought I had a lot more in the tank to give, but I just didn't get a good opportunity," Ginepri said. "Novak was playing too well, was hitting some of the best shots I've seen."

The former world No. 2 and two-time French Open semifinalist Djokovic will now appear in his fourth quarterfinal here in the last five years.

Djokovic's quarterfinal opponent will be 22nd-seeded Austrian lefthander Jurgen Melzer, who got past unseeded Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the fourth round. Gabashvili toppled American star Andy Roddick in the third round on the crushed brick last week.

The 29-year-old Melzer will now compete in his first-ever major quarterfinal in his 32nd Grand Slam event. The southpaw had never reached the fourth round at a Grand Slam prior to this particular fortnight.

Djokovic is 2-0 lifetime against Melzer and the two have never met on clay.

The quarters will commence with a pair of matches on Tuesday, as top-seeded icon Roger Federer will face Soderling in a rematch of last year's final here, while 11th-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny will take on 15th-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych.

The Swiss Federer is a laughable 12-0 lifetime against Soderling, while Youzhny is 6-4 versus Berdych.

The amazing Federer will try to land in a remarkable 24th straight Grand Slam semifinal. He holds the men's all-time record with his 16 major titles, and currently holds the French Open, Aussie Open and Wimbledon crowns.

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Re: FRENCH OPEN

Post  junkman on Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:04 am

Paris, France (Sports Network) - In a rematch of last year's final, Robin Soderling stunned defending champion Roger Federer in Tuesday's quarterfinal action at the French Open. With the loss, Federer failed to reach a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time in six years.

A fifth-seeded Soderling exacted a measure of revenge on Federer by ousting the world No. 1 superstar in 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 come-from-behind fashion on Court Chatrier. Federer handled Soderling in straight sets in last year's finale here.

This marks Soderling's second major upset here in two years, as he shocked then four-time reigning champion Rafael Nadal in the fourth round here a year ago.

Federer had reached at least the semifinals in the last 23 Grand Slam events, with his last loss before the semis coming at the hands of Gustavo Kuerten in straight sets in the third round of the 2004 French Open. Since then, only Nadal had beaten Federer at Roland Garros.

"This is a big win, but it's not the final," Soderling said. "I don't want to celebrate too much. I want to focus on the next game."

After splitting the first two sets, Federer and Soderling were knotted a 5-5 in the third when rain sent the players off the court. Following a 75-minute delay, Soderling simply had the better of the play, winning eight-of-12 games to pull off the stunner amid cold and damp conditions, which have dominated the fortnight.

The big-hitting Soderling broke Federer to grab a 6-5 edge in the third set and then held his serve with a booming ace to go up two-sets-to-one.

In the fourth set, Federer broke for a 2-0 lead and things seemed to be headed towards a fifth, but Soderling would regain control with one big shot after another, on his way to 49 winners.

Soderling recorded his second break of the fourth set, when a rattled Federer sailed a backhand long, to go up 5-4, and closed out the match on his first match point in the next game when one final Federer forehand went beyond the baseline.

The Swede prevailed in 2 1/2 hours, as he out-aced his Swiss counterpart 14-12 and tallied twice as many breaks (4-2) on the day.

Federer had been a perfect 12-0 lifetime against Soderling, winning 28-of-30 sets.

"It cannot be much better," Soderling told the crowd. "It's great to play on this court. It's for sure my favorite Grand Slam."

The 25-year-old Soderling is trying to become the first Swedish champion here since Mats Wilander in 1988. He'll appear in his second career major semi, with both coming here over the last two campaigns.

When the 16-time major champion Federer titled here last year, he became only the sixth man to secure a career Grand Slam and equaled Pete Sampras' men's record of 14 major titles. The amazing Swiss then went on to pass Sampras by titling at Wimbledon. He also captured this year's Australian Open championship.

Soderling's semifinal opponent will be 15th-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych, who blitzed 11th-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 on Day 10 at Roland Garros.

Berdych-Youzhny was also interrupted by rain, with the Czech leading 6-3, 1-1. Following the delay, it was all Berdych, as he mowed down Youzhny in 1 hour, 54 minutes.

The 24-year-old Berdych fired eight aces, to only one for Youzhny, struck 13 more winners (28-15), and broke the Russian's serve a whopping six times, compared to zero breaks in only three break-point chances for Youzhny.

Berdych will now appear in his first-ever Grand Slam semi.

The quarterfinals will conclude here on Wednesday when a second-seeded former world No. 1 Nadal takes on 19th-seeded fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro and third-seeded Serb Novak Djokovic battles 22nd-seeded Austrian Jurgen Melzer.

Nadal is a six-time major champion, with four of his titles coming here in Paris from 2005-08. He topped his great rival Federer in three straight finals here from 2006-08.


06/01 16:04:42 ET

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