Grand Slam Federer storms to French Open glory
Roger Federer gloriously completed a career Grand Slam on Sunday by
capturing a record-equalling 14th major with a 6-1, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4 win
over Robin Soderling in the French Open final.
The 27-year-old world number two finally won a Roland Garros crown at
the 11th attempt and in his fourth successive final having come up
heartbreakingly short in the last three showdowns against Spanish
nemesis Rafael Nadal.
His victory, ironically over the Swedish 23rd seed who shocked
four-time Nadal in the last 16, took him level with great friend Pete
Sampras as the holder of 14 Grand Slam titles.
He also moved into a select group made up only of Fred Perry, Don
Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and Andre Agassi as men who have won all
four of the Grand Slam events.
"It was probably my greatest victory, I was under big pressure. I did
it and it's phenomenal," said Federer who broke down in tears after
being presented with the trophy by Agassi, the 1999 champion, and while
the Swiss national anthem was played.
Soderling, who has now lost 10 times in 10 meetings with Federer,
admitted the Swiss was a deserving winner. "Roger was too good for me
today, he played much better. He is a worthy winner and for me he is the
best player in history," said Soderling.
"He gave me a lesson in how to play tennis." Any doubts over
Federer's ability to overcome his Paris jinx were quickly dashed as the
Swiss star, playing in a record-equalling 19th Grand Slam final and
riding a tidal wave of support, dominated Soderling.
He broke the first game on a Soderling double fault and was soon a
second break to the good to lead 4-0 when a sweetly-timed drop shot left
the Swede stranded behind the baseline.
Soderling, the first Swede in the Roland Garros final since his coach
Magnus Norman finished runner-up to Gustavo Kuerten in 2000, stopped the
rot with a hold to trail 4-1, but Federer quickly nipped further ahead
Soderling's uncompromising forehand, which was a dagger to the heart
of Nadal, was looking more like a blunt instrument in the damp and