Friday, June 4, 2010

Roland Garros Day 13: Not Too Old at 29

Curtain Call

Player: Jurgen Melzer
Nation: Austria
Age: 29
Current Ranking: 27
Notable Conquests: Novak Djokovic (3rd seed, Serbia) and David Ferrer (9th, Spain)
Tour Page
Today's Result: loss to Rafael Nadal (2nd, Spain) in straight sets

With his era-defining upset of Federer, Robin Soderling stole a bit of Melzer's thunder for the tournament. Melzer beat the two best players in his quarter, and two of the world's best on clay, just to make it to the semis. The win over Ferrer was a big surprise. Ferrer, long one of the underappreciated players on tour, had had a brilliant clay court season and was thoroughly tuned by Melzer. The Djokovic match was a five-set war but the lefty veteran made it through. Of course, he then hit the brick wall that is Nadal. Before now, Melzer had never even made it past the third round of a major. Bravo!

What a great match-up for Sunday: a rematch of THE defining match of the 2009 season. Nadal holds a 3-2 lifetime edge, including a 2-1 difference on clay. But with Soderling likely out to prove last year was no fluke, who knows?

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