The French Open Finals were quite the disappointment in both the mens and womens side, in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, the performance of Roger Federer was fantastic and kudos to him for finally breaking through his French Open woes to tie Pete Sampras. I'm not going to knock on the quality of the players so much as the quality of the actual matches.
I'm going to start over on the women's side with Dinara Safina and Svetlana Kuznetsova. This is the third grand slam final that Safina has made it to, and once again does not even show up for the final match, going down 6-4, 6-2. The match culminated on match point where Safina double-faults the title away. Now I'm not trying to take anything away from Kuznetsova, who had a great tournament, but as the world's number one player, the least you can do is win a set in a Grand Slam Final. In last year's French Open she was beaten by Ana Ivanovic (6-4, 6-3) and in this year's Australian Open she was beaten by Serena Williams (6-0, 6-3). We all know she can play, and she certainly proved it during the tournament, dropping only 5 games in her first 5 matches, but when it comes to pressure situations with a title on the line, she has just folded. The sad part to me is that by reaching the final, she maintains her number one ranking. I find this "sad" because I think she could use some time away from that ranking. Usually when players are knocked off of that pedestal they tend to find themselves and don't get complacent, as well as relieves some of that pressure of being on the top.
The men's match was pretty much what the matchup said it would be. Soderling was a real nice story throughout the Open, only reaching as far as the third round in any other Grand Slam event prior to this. He just really didn't have an answer for Federer's game, falling 6-1, 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 in the final. While this win was a feel-good story for Federer, it wasn't really a test by any means. In Federer's previous two matches against Haas and Del Potro, he had to come from behind in both matches and play his best tennis just to advance. His comeback against Tommy Haas was one of Federer's greatest performances that I've seen in recent time. How much better of a story would it have been for Roger Federer to come into Roland Garros and take the crown away from Rafael Nadal in the final? How great of a match could that have been? Whoever would have won, history would have been made. If Federer wins, he overcomes his French Open woes, he finally beats Nadal on clay on the biggest stage, and ties Pete Sampras for 14 Grand Slam titles. If Nadal wins, he becomes the first player ever to win 5 straight French Open titles, and his win streak on clay lives on. It was just not meant to be. Don't take anything away from Roger- I just think that this story, while great, could have been even greater.
The good news? Only 14 days until Wimbledon.