Henman v Soderling – more of a masterclass than a match

by Suw on June 28, 2003

It's amazing that Robin Soderling got as far as round three, frankly. He must have had two really easy matches, because at times out on Centre Court, he just looked lost. Of course, watching Henman play against someone whom we all know he should beat is far from being an easy experience. He's been known before to crumple under the pressure and allow himself to be beaten by someone who's simply not as good, but today Henman was in charge all the way, taking the match 6-3 6-1 6-4.

The second set was without a doubt decisively Henman's – he didn't so much 'break' Soderling's serve as smash it into tiny little bits. He took three of Soderling's service games and held his own serve to love several times, sewing up the set in no time at all. Soderling fought back a little in the final set, with a 'nothing to loose' attitude that earnt him a warning for swearing from the umpire at one point, but he was nowhere near good enough to significantly slow Henman down.

Surprisingly, Soderling's weaknesses were obvious even to someone like me who frankly knows bugger all about tennis – he had no idea what to do with low shots (tip: bend yer knees, mate), and seem positively baffled by the concept of coming into the net. That said he got a few lucky crosscourt shots in, but on the whole he was totally outclassed. At only 18, though, that's no great surprise. He did well to get as far as he did, but boy, he really needs to work hard on that serve.

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