No. 2 Rafael Nadal rallied for a convincing 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-1 over No. 6 Robin Soderling, patiently neutralizing the Swede’s superior power with tremendous depth and point construction.
A Soderling injury timeout followed by an immediate break of Nadal’s serve seemed to swing the momentum late in the third set, but Nadal convincingly won the ensuing tiebreak and ran away with the fourth.
An interesting subplot to this match could be how the news of Federer’s exit from the tournament swung the momentum. At roughly the time Federer’s losing score would have been posted on the Court 1 scoreboard, Soderling was leading 5-0. But from there on, it was all Nadal.
Did Soderling get tight seeing how the draw had opened up? Did Nadal realize the enormity of this opportunity? Both? In any event, it’s a possible storyline to consider.
With the win, Nadal becomes the clear favorite to take this title. Murray has beaten him in their last two encounters at slams, though, so his front-runner status is nowhere near as clear as Serena’s is on the Ladies’ side.