PARIS(AP) Robin Soderling did the impossible at the French Open once. He just couldn't do it twice.
Seven days after eliminating top-ranked Rafael Nadal in one of the biggest upsets in tennis history, the hard-serving Swede lost to Roger Federer 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4 Sunday in his first Grand Slam final.
Roger's game doesn't suit my game at all. He doesn't allow me to be aggressive. He always had me on the run today,'' Soderling said.With Rafa, it's different. It's easier to be aggressive. In all my matches against Rafa, I think I dictated the game, I dictated the play.
``But against Roger, for me, it's been so far impossible to do that.''
Last week, Soderling found the answer to beating Nadal on the red clay of Roland Garros, running the Spaniard all over the court and winning in four sets to reach a major quarterfinal for the first time.
I think I (did) what was supposed to be impossible, to beat him on clay in best-of-five sets,'' Soderling said of Nadal.I mean, no one else (had) ever done it before and I finally made it.''
Nadal had been 31-0 at Roland Garros and had won the previous four French Open titles, beating Federer in three straight finals in Paris heading into this year.
Soderling ended that streak in the fourth round, and his stellar play continued through wins over Nikolay Davydenko and Fernando Gonzalez.
Federer, however, was the one who dictated play on Sunday, keeping Soderling moving from side to side, sending powerful forehands into the corners and using drop shots to draw the Swede to the net.
He had an incredible tournament. He beat so many wonderful players,'' Federer said of Soderling.It's always hard to lose in the final, but it's an incredible surprise for everyone and I'm hoping he keeps that great run up for many years and not just a couple of weeks.''
Still, Federer was able to keep Soderling from getting into his game.
I tried to stay aggressive. I think that's what you have to do against Roger,'' said Soderling, who is 0-10 in his career against Federer.But it didn't work today. ... He played too well and he didn't let me be aggressive at all. So I have to change something for next time we play.''
In the end, Soderling could only be in awe of Federer, who tied Pete Sampras' all-time record with his 14th major title and completed a career Grand Slam with the win.
To me, you're the greatest player in history,'' Soderling told Federer as the two stood on the victory podium.So you really deserve to win this title.''