Robin Soderling has a simple secret to success.
Wait, who? Robin Soderling, the giant killer of the French Open, who slayed a dragon this weekend in the form of consecutive four time French Open defending champion and No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal. Sod himself is seeded 23rd. Today he lopped off No. 10 Nikolay Davydenko in well under 2 hours and three straight sets. After watching him defeat Davydenko so easily, it became clear that his style of play is based on a quite simple yet immensely effective strategy. He has a powerful forehand, and he essentially stretches his opponents out across the entire baseline, by positioning shots on either side. Because of this effective use of the court as well as his power, opponents have to move quickly to the ball and hit it on the run. Especially on clay, stops and starts are difficult, and Soderling doesn’t allow them time to get back into position. Obviously this is what tennis players want to do, but Soderling appeared to have been particularly effective at it with Nadal and Davydenko.
So what’s it going to take to beat Robin Soderling? I think the best I’ve seen from his opponents is to mirror his game exactly. It turns out that Soderling’s major weakness is exactly what he exposes in his opponents. It will be interesting to see if someone in the bracket will be able to pick this up and take down this rising French Open star, who appears to be unstoppable right now.