World number 1 Federer knocked out of French Open

Robin Soderling sent defending champion and 16-time Grand Slam king Roger Federer spinning to a shocking defeat on Tuesday.

Afp June 02, 2010

Robin Soderling gatecrashed Roland Garros for the second successive year on Tuesday as the he sent defending champion and 16-time Grand Slam king Roger Federer spinning to a shocking defeat.

Twelve months on from condemning four-time champion Rafael Nadal to his first loss in Paris, Soderling again unleashed his sledgehammer ground strokes to beat the world number one 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in the quarter-finals.

It was Federer's earliest Grand Slam exit in six years and Soderling's first triumph over the Swiss in 12 meetings, including the final here year.

Soderling's win brought to an end Federer's record run of 23 successive Grand Slam semi-final appearances stretching back to his third round defeat to Gustavo Kuerten here in 2004.

It also set up a semi-final clash against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic who eased past Mikhail Youzhny of Russia.

"I love playing on this court. I have been here for two weeks and have been playing better and better with each match," said the Swede.

Soderling said he was overjoyed by his achievement. "It's great to beat the world number one and the defending champion two years running here," added the fifth seed.

Federer swept through the first set with a crucial break in the eighth game, having surrendered just two points on his own serve.

But the Swede suddenly cranked up his response in the second, with regular repeat showings of the forehand devastation which stunned Nadal last year.

He broke to lead 2-0, shrugged off a double fault on a second set point before levelling the tie when Federer dumped a forehand into the net.

It was only the third set the Swede had taken off the world number one in 32 contested.

Soderling fought off a set point in the 10th game of the third set which was being played under heavy skies and incessant drizzle which became increasingly heavy.

Not surprisingly, play was suspended with Federer 30-15 ahead in the 11th game.

On resumption, 75 minutes later, Soderling broke to lead 6-5 after a Federer double fault opened the door.

Federer broke to lead 2-1 in the fourth set, but Soderling returned the favour in the next game

Federer was now under siege on Court Philippe Chatrier, having to fight off three break points in the seventh game before capitulating in the ninth to fall 5-4 down when a wild backhand sailed long and out.

Soderling then secured his famous win when Federer went long with a weary return.


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