Federer relishing Soderling rematch

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have not put a foot wrong so far at this year's French Open and all signs point to the world's two outstanding men's players duelling for the title on Sunday.

There are still some pitfalls lurking on the Parisian clay, however, and today and Wednesday's quarter-finals will be a better yardstick of their form after they both arrived at the business end of the tournament with a 12-0 sets record.



On Tuesday Federer faces Robin Soderling, the man he beat in last year's final to complete a career grand slam after the Swede cleared the decks with a sensational defeat of Nadal.



Four-times champion Nadal, hungry to prove that last year's fourth-round shocker against Soderling was an aberration, will have to pass fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, a player whose five career titles have all been on clay.



Since beating Nadal last year Soderling has transformed into a genuine top-10 player and his form here has been only marginally less impressive than Federer's.



He has never beaten the Swiss master in 12 attempts though and Federer oozed confidence when he looked ahead to another clash with the powerhouse Swede.



"He's going to be fitter than in the past when I played him during the third round or second round," Federer told reporters.



"But I'm really looking forward to this match because he hits very strongly, forehand, backhand and serves. This is what I like. This is why I have a good record against him."



Soderling knows the odds are against him but his body language now suggests a player who believes he can beat anybody when his game clicks into place.



"Even against Roger you will always get a few chances," he said. "Then you have to take them, because he won't give you any second opportunities. You have to play well in the important points, which he does so well, that's why he's so good."



After a patchy start against French teenage wildcard Gianni Mina, Nadal's game has gone up several levels and he appeared to be peaking at the right moment but is still not taking the threat posed by Almagro lightly.



"It's going to be complicated, he's going to be very aggressive, but I'll do my best to make him feel uncomfortable," Nadal said after beating Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci in straight sets on Monday.



The other men's quarter-final in the top half features Czech Tomas Berdych against Russian Mikhail Youzhny, both enjoying their best runs at Roland Garros.



Should Nadal overcome Almagro he will be up against either world number three and regular sparring partner Novak Djokovic or grand slam quarter-final debutant Jurgen Melzer - the first Austrian to reach the last eight at Roland Garros since 1998.



PROMOTED VIDEO
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us