(I'm happy Soderling is gone too, Rafa.)
Oh, hooray! Rafael Nadal managed to survive the current plague of "Upset-itis" affecting this second week of Wimbledon by bouncing Robin Soderling from the tournament. Rafa won their quarterfinal match in four sets - 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-1. It would've been so sad, but harldy surprising if the No. 2 seed lost here. Things have been upside down at Wimby the past few days. Roddick? Gone. Venus? Gone. Clijsters? Gone. And in doubles: Bryan Brothers? Gone. Williams Sisters? Gone. Then earlier today: Federer? GONE!!! Done in by Berdych in 4 sets that were not even particularly close. My brain still has not completely accepted Fed's early dismissal. But at the time of the day when Federer had match point against him on Centre Court, Rafa was trailing in his opening set to Soderling 5-0. I could only watch the score tick by on SlamTracker. I couldn't see how Rafa was actually moving. Was he injured? What else could account for what was shaping up to be a bagel set against Soderling? I was very dismayed.
But then, Rafa woke up and fought back a bit - losing the first set, but getting it to a somewhat respectable score of 3-6. He then took complete charge in the second, winning that 6-3. The third set was closer, but Rafa remained ahead. And then the 4th set was all him. I was so relieved and happy he made it through. What a sweet comeback it would be to go from injury at this time last year to once-again Champion!
The Wimbledon crowd has been extremely supportive of Rafa throughout the competition. I have a distinct feeling that will not be the case when he takes on home-crowd favorite Andy Murray in the semis on Friday. That's gonna be a really tough match, as Murray has been playing outstanding tennis this tournament. But Soderling had been playing incredible tennis as well, and that didn't stop Rafa from finding a way to win. Really, with Federer out of the competition, all four remaining men have a great chance of winning the competition. Each one has to really like their chances. Rafa's the only one of them to make it to a Wimbledon final, though. Hopefully that experience gives him the edge.