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Rafael Nadal, Robin Pushing Through at Wimbledon

There are a few players at Wimbledon making a name for themselves on grass at the 2010 Wimbledon men’s tournament. Robin Soderling is impressing in the men’s draw, and has been consistently raising his game at Grand Slams in 2010.

Soderling advanced to the next round at Wimbledon over Brazilian Thomas Bellucci 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 on Saturday. He has thrived on a dry grass surface weeks after drudging through wet clay at Roland Garros.

“I think it suits me well,” said Soderling after the match. ” I feel really good and my confidence is good because I think I’ve been playing really well for a year or almost a year and a half now, beating a lot of good players in big matches and in big tournaments. I think that’s a really big thing in this sport.”

The Swedish international is the only representative from his country at the All England Club with a chance to win the title. He is in supreme condition, and barely allows opponents time to get in position on his returns. His style allows him to hit the ball at the apex of the bounce, a hard thing for his counter parts to handle.

An accurate serve allows Soderling to get up early in his services games. He hit five aces and lost five points on first serve during his match with Bellucci. The Swede crowded the net, winning 15 of 17 points in a match that lasted just under two hours.

A Swedish man has not won the title at Wimbledon since Stefan Edberg claimed it in 1990. Soderling commented on the draw so far, and said his game is reaching his peak because of the high level of competition.

“I think I played against three really good players,” said Soderling. “I didn’t drop a set yet; I’m serving well; I’m hitting the ball well [and] so far I’m feeling really good.”

The time might be right for Soderling to win a Grand Slam as the higher ranked players have found trouble in the opening rounds. Rafael Nadal survived a five-set nail biter with Philipp Petzchner 6-4, 4-6, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-3. The match lasted over three hours on Centre Court.

Nadal was angry after being warned  by chair umpire Cedric Mourier for receiving coaching from his uncle Toni Nadal during the match. He made the break he needed in the eight game of the final set before shutting out Petzchner in the final service game.

Both players needed to take injury timeouts during the match for various ailments. Nadal missed the 2008 tournament due to a knee injury. Saturday he received elbow and knee treatments during the match.

Tennis sportsbooks have set Swiss player Roger Federer as the overall favorite to win the tournament at 15/8 odds. Nadal is a close second in odds at 2/1, and Soderling is a bit further down the list at 9/1.


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