What a bloomin' day. 10 sets of dramatic hardcore tennis. Big apologies for using barely any of your 606s or texts. It seems you were all getting stuck in without any help from me. So come on back tomorrow for the ladies and then on Sunday, it's time to see if Feds can finally get his hands on the French Open crown. Night.
So Feds will be up against Soderling. A day of high drama make no mistake. Two very different semi-finals. First up tomorrow though is the women's final at 1400 BST. Svetlana Kuznetsova takes on Dinara Safina. Follow all the action on the Red Button and the BBC Sport website (UK users only) and live text commentary here as well. And of course the men's final on Sunday.
"DelPo: very good effort (despite the ridiculous) outfit. You'll be back, this is not the last we will have seen from you. But for now: thank you for not stopping Roger on his way to history. Fantastic effort Fed, you rule."From tgsgirl on 606
ROGER FEDERER BEATS JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO 3-6 7-6 (7/2) 2-6 6-1 6-4 TO REACH THE FRENCH OPEN FINAL Del Potro 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 1-6 4-6 Federer
And that's it. Amazing scenes. Takes the game to 15.
Del Potro 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 1-6 4-5 Federer*
I think Feds is taking a breather. 40-0 to Del Potro and I've hardly looked away for two seconds. A cracking backhand serve return rises and dips like a Ronaldo free-kick and he pulls it back to 40-30. And more floops. Another double fault and it's deuce. Del Potro looks thoroughly annoyed. Fill in your own words. And Feds forces him into another error. He saves one match point. And fair play to the big man - he grits his teeth, shuts out the partisan Parisian noise and takes the game. He survives for a little while longer.
Del Potro* 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 1-6 3-5 Federer
Time to turn on the style and a backhand/forehand combo whips the ball away for Feds to take the first point. Sweet. Del Potro looks desperately at the clay as he sends a poor one too long. Mmmmm page 9 of my manual of drop shots says don't try it every bloomin' game. Feds dinks one over and Del Potro is out of the traps and plays it easily down the line. No flustering him though and he soon wraps the game up. More fist-clenching.
Del Potro 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 1-6 3-4 Federer*
It's see-saw time. A whole bag of twists and turns. The Del Potro serve mis-fires and Federer goes 40-0 up. A magic forehand leaves Feds a little static and he pulls it back to 30-40. Crucial time this. And there's another cracker. A weak serve return and Del Potro picks his spot right in the corner. Deuce time. And then floop - that's the noise of a limp ball falling into the net for a double fault to raise the noise levels again.
Del Potro* 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 1-6 3-3 Federer
Game on again. Del Potro hits back with a phenomenal leap in the air to send Feds back on the baseline. Time for the Argentines to go a little crazy.
"Del Potro is still playing superb tennis - if Federer wins this, no one in their right mind can say it's because Del Potro just lost it."From JLeaderMaynard on 606
Del Potro 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 1-6 2-3 Federer*
Oh yes - the clenched fist. Always a handy tool to get out of the bag to whip up the crowd. The grunting returns from Del Potro. Another handy tool and it works for a couple of points. 30-40 down and it's dazzling rally with Feds plonking a simple volley at the net to leave Del Potro helpless on his feet. A great forehand and then a rare storm into the net and it's game over. Del Potro needs to start mixing it up a bit more like that. It took four sets for Feds to start reading his opponent and change his tactics - Del Potro needs to do the same, or Mrs Feds will be calling off that shopping trip.
Del Potro* 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 1-6 1-3 Federer
Federer's serve is looking pretty solid and Del Potro is looking a little battle weary. He's still got enough in the tank to blast home a forehand to take it to 30-40. Federer has magnificent hair. Just thought I'd say that. He's a got a wave in that barnet to die for. A fabulous rally on advantage Feds and it's game over. He was pushed to the back of the court there but Federer somehow scooped it back cross-court out of the reach of Del Potro.
Del Potro 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 1-6 1-2 Federer*
Del Potro has a strong start but Federer is a man on fire - actually - not quite - but he's hotter than he was 20 minutes ago. A magic backhand gets him back in it but Del Potro is not going to give up a fight for a place in the French Open final too easily.
Del Potro* 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 1-6 0-2 Federer
Yep - Feds definitely went away a few minutes ago, read my manual to dropping shots against Del Potro and he wins another game. Easy when you know how. Just seen Feds dad in the crowd. He's wearing a red cap with his son's initials on. How many sons can boast that? Bit weird isn't it? fair play though - he backs the cap up with an astonishing Super Marios moustache.
Del Potro 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 1-6 0-1 Federer*
The tide really has turned now. Feds breaks Del Potro and his tail is up and the crowd are loving it. Massive shrieks. Feds father is in the crowd - I'm sure he too is loving it.
"Federer is going to give me a heart attack or an ulcer- and I am still a young man." From kemet2009 on 606
Del Potro* 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 1-6 Federer
And there we have it. The second semi-final to go to a five-setter. Been such a strange game this one. A bit like watching two ugly fish scurrying about at the bottom of a fishtank and you're waiting for one of them to do something different - like rise to the surface, nibble on a stone or do a somersault. Alas, no somersaults but they're still flapping about. Federer though could be about to rise to the surface and leap like a salmon. Enough fish analogies.
Del Potro 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 1-5 Federer*
My colleague Piers Newbery has upgraded my Ben Stiller lookalike comment with the words 'Zoolander'. Thoughts? And yep - it's official. Del Potro is wobbling like my momma's raspberry Angel Delight. Always preferred strawberry but a dessert that never disappointed. Del Potro's serve looks hesitant and it's another double fault to give Federer the game. Strange turnaround this one. It's crept on me and slapped me on the back of the head.
Del Potro* 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 1-4 Federer
Del Potro looks a little shaken. He blasts another forehand out left and Federer looks a whole lot cleverer in this set. How can a man this experienced be transformed in such a manner? Early days though.
Del Potro 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 1-3 Federer*
I have found the answer for Federer. Nope - not press the off button on Del Potro's robotic chassis, but just keep playing drop shots. Simple. He's got Del Potro scrambling again - not like rats this time - more like a wounded rabbit - and then a double fault takes it to deuce. This is your moment Roger my boy. He's been listening to me - another drop and it's advantage Feds. Now THIS is your moment. And Del Potro sends one long to send the crowd into raptures. What is a rapture?
Del Potro* 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 1-2 Federer
This game has already provided two rallies better than anything we've seen in this match so far. Federer picks up a beauty on the forehand forcing Del Potro onto his back foot who then plays into the net. Good pressure and he edges ahead. Crowd quiet again. What's up with these people? It's almost the weekend. I fear some may be snoozing.
Del Potro 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 1-1 Federer*
A scrappy service game by Del Potro. Federer fights hard to get it to deuce. Then he gets his first break point but skids it into the net. Boom - that's another ace crashing against the chalk dust - although it probably isn't chalk dust is it? This time Federer manages to get the ball past Del Potro at the net to save himself. Again - the crowd wake up with huge roars. But the roars turn to polite applause as Del Potro digs himself out of a mini-hole and wins the game.
Del Potro 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 0-1 Federer*
My mistake. Federer is 1-0 up in fourth set - not 1-1. My bad as they say. In America probably.
Del Potro* 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 0-1 Federer
Del Potro begins the fourth set with me thinking he's a tall Ben Stiller. Stiller mind you is very short. A hair-alike if you like. The match edges into its third hour. Federer has a great chance to win the game but blasts his textbook backhand three inches wide. More sloppiness. But he hangs on. Just.
Del Potro 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 Federer*
The tall man makes no mistake with a gaggle of serves that sends him on the way to the third set. Just 36 minutes that took. Blimey, this is easy pickings. Photo time.
Del Potro* 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 5-2 Federer
It's Federer's turn to get Del Potro scurrying around the court like a rat in a roof space. Or maybe that's just me. That rally was just plain weird though. Great rally BUT, and it's a big but, Federer has three chances to stick a pass, or a lob, anything, away, but every time he opts to play it straight at Del Potro just standing flat-footed at the net. Looked like the sort of rally you have with your 11-year-old nephew - just keeping him interested in the game without demoralising him. And Del Potro nicks it. I'm bemused.
Del Potro 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 4-2 Federer*
Hello, or bonjour and all that as they say in these parts. Federer has a sniff of a break here. He goes 30-0 up and Del Potro's grunting goes to 11 on the Spinal Tap scale of 1-10. The grunt has actually evolved into a snort and the change works. Another serve and boom, game over.
Del Potro* 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 3-2 Federer
What a topsy-turvy, unpredictable, messy, ugly game this is turning out to be. Federer just can't get going and Del Potro's bananas seem to be giving him the strength of 11 men. 10 of them called Del Potro, one of them Schwarzenegger. By the skin of his Swiss teeth, Federer squeezes through.
Del Potro 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 3-1 Federer*
Del Potro is wobbling a bit. He goes 15-30 down but then an ace roars past Federer and hits the back - if somebody had got in the way, their head would now be heading towards Calais. It's got him of out of jail though.
Del Potro* 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 2-1 Federer
Federer races to 40-0 on his serve but Del Potro winds those legs up and does a cross-court drop shot on the run while looking at the crowd. Exhibition stuff. But Federer holds on. More bananas for Del Potro.
Del Potro 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 2-0 Federer*
Del Potro carries on the good work and flies through his service game. Anybody think Del Potro was going to fade away after losing that last set? Not a bloomin' chance.
Del Potro* 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 1-0 Federer
A steady opener from del Potro though. A blistering forehand has Federer reaching for thin air and it's game over.
"Too many mistakes by del porto. federer did little himself to win that. just got lucky with opponent making errors.."From Faster Then Walcott, Taller then Crouch on 606Sorry for lack of 606 chat from me. Few technical problems and I don't have the nine hands I 'd like. Will try to chuck a load more in. Great work with all your contributions so far though.
Del Potro 6-3 6-7 (2/7) Federer
The crowd have definitely woken up. Federer takes the first two points and they got bonkers. The French cheer is a cheer very different from your average run of the mill cheer. It sounds quite old fashioned. Loud though. My wife often tells me off for clapping too loud. A small side issue I guess. Del Potro's forehand flies into the net and he's wobbling at 1-4. And he does it again. Does he want this crowd fired up? Keep your cool Juan. And that's it. One set each. Federer sends out a roar from the bottom of his belly. We might have a game on our hands.
Del Potro* 6-3 6-6 Federer
Federer at least is holding his own with his service game. Tie-break time. C'mon boys - let's have some drama. Let's have a rally. It's Friday for goodness sake.
Del Potro 6-3 6-5 Federer*
Del Potro keeps booming the serves down and as yet - his opponent has no answer. Game over. He returns to his wooden bench, takes a swig from his water bottle and he's hardly broken into sweat. I've had a close look at his arms during the break. I think he shaves them. I'll say no more.
Del Potro* 6-3 5-5 Federer
The forehand keeps coming and more errors from Federer and he goes 0-30. Mrs Federer looks on in sunglasses bigger than her head and a shiny blue dress and she looks puzzled. She may be shopping in Paris on Sunday with her hubby if this carries on. But he hangs on. Federer is getting some more reward with another drop shot and he edges the game.
Del Potro 6-3 5-4 Federer*
Del Potro strolls into a 40-0 lead on serve but Federer wakes the crowd up with a sweet backhand that lands right on the baseline. I think we can call that a rally. But it's soon over. I'm thinking that if you delved inside the right arm of Del Potro you'd find the metallic workings of Terminator's lost arm. Phenomenal stuff. And he takes a well-earned break by munching on a banana.
Del Potro* 6-3 4-4 Federer
Am I asking for too much? An ace from Federer seals it. Federer wearing quite a sweet pale blue shirt by the way and a navy short to complement.
Del Potro 6-3 4-3 Federer*
Wallop. Wallop. Wallop and WALLOP. Another service game goes to Del Potro. Bit flat this. No noise from the crowd. Even Del Potro has stopped his grunting. I can almost hear the rustlings of a few French newspapers. And I'm not joking.
Del Potro* 6-3 3-3 Federer
Still going with serve and Federer mixes it up a bit with a delicate drop-shot to leave Del Potro scrambling but not even his extensive pins can get him there in time.
Del Potro 6-3 3-2 Federer*
That's more like it. Del Potro eases to 30-0 but Federer picks up a half-volley on the run and blitzes it down the line. Nice. But it's all too sporadic and Del Potro's serve soon hands him the game.
Del Potro* 6-3 2-2 Federer
It's all about the serve so far. Federer's turn to fire in a few ball missiles and holds it easily. A completely different game to the earlier semi-final. Not quite taking off yet. Early days.
Del Potro 6-3 2-1 Federer*
And if you thought that was quick, that was even quicker. Del Potro's serve looks pretty invincible.
Del Potro* 6-3 1-1 Federer
Federer will be a little happier after a relatively comfortable service game. Enough said.
Del Potro 6-3 1-0 Federer*
Federer's frown looks long or heavy. Or big. It's a frown anyway. He's going to have to seriously raise his game to cope with a player playing out of his skin. A mis-timed backhand from Federer limps into the net and after failing to pick up another whopping serve Del Potro takes the opener. Please press your refresh button. Hands up - I made a boo-boo with the next serve asterisk. We're back on course now.
Del Potro* 6-3 Federer
Right, if the first service break wasn't in the script then this definitely wasn't. The firs set goes to Del Potro. Federer is sent scrambling towards every corner of the court and the set's gone. What a start for the big man. Make that the tall man.
Del Potro 5-3 Federer*
Del Potro is already covered in clay but his diving around is paying off. Takes his service game in a pretty stress-free manner and he's one game away from the first set.
Del Potro* 4-3 Federer
Mmmmmm. Federer's wheels have not quite come off but they sure are squeaking. A wild volley heads straight to the Eiffel Tower and then he's one point away from another service break. But a slightly better aimed volley - this time down the throat of his opponent and not at the stands - and he battles back to take the game. Scrappy.
Del Potro 4-2 Federer*
And he grabs a two game lead before you can say 'how many cows with ringing bells do you own Roger?' Both have gone up a couple of gears but Del Potro is looking calm, if a little noisy.
Del Potro* 3-2 Federer
Hold on. This wasn't in the script. Federer has a sloppy three minutes and goes 0-40 on his serve. Federer gets two points but as Del Potro's grunting goes up a notch - three notches actually - he breaks him. His fists - with bright yellow sweatbands nearby - are raised triumphantly. Don't get too cocky Juan. Good start though.
Del Potro 2-2 Federer*
The spindly Del Potro - in his trusty stripy sleeveless number and Mark Knopfler headband - plays a bit of a loose game but hangs on despite a mini-fightback from Federer. A quick stat. The rally to take it to 40-15 had 16 shots. Del Potro's serve looks quite a weapon though.* denotes NEXT server
Del Potro* 1-2 Federer
No problems with Federer's serve so far. Holds without a sniff of a point for his opponent. A steady opening after the earlier madness.
Del Potro 1-1 Federer*
A lively second game that one. Federer's backhand already looks super-polished despite his wait in the locker rooms from the earlier semi, but Del Potro holds on.
Del Potro* 0-1 Federer
I'm still getting my breath back but I'm in the hotseat now after the tireless efforts of Newbers and in a blink of an eye, Federer cruises home with his first service game.
Quite an unbelievable match that one. Right here goes.
Federer has a thumping 5-0 record against Del Potro, including a comfortable win on clay in Madrid last month and a walloping 6-3 6-0 6-0 at the Australian Open in January. Still, Del Potro is getting better and better, and has looked mightily impressive on his way through the draw in Paris. Having said that, he's not exactly overflowing with confidence."He does everything so perfectly," the 20-year-old said of Federer. "His game is a big problem for me, and that's why I've never won when I've played him. I'll have to be 100% there, physically and mentally." And it's over to Mark Ashenden, manually refresh the page if you wish to see his name....
Federer and Del Potro are out on Chatrier and the shouts of "Allez Roger!" are already ringing out.
"Come on rog here is your moment!"From Chris via text on 81111
Next up we have Roger Federer
against Juan Martin del Potro
as they battle it out for the right to face Robin Soderling in Sunday's final. Federer is trying to complete his set of Grand Slam titles and match Pete Sampras's record of 14 major wins, Del Potro is playing in his first Grand Slam semi. There will be a short break on the Red Button and website streaming (UK only)
but we're not going anywhere. Well, I might be, but anyway....
"Unbelievable match," is all I can hear from Robin Soderling
after he reaches a first Grand Slam final. "He pulled this out and won the last five games in a row, and when he's on form there's nothing you can do about it," says Pat Cash on 5 Live Sports Extra
ROBIN SODERLING BEATS FERNANDO GONZALEZ 6-3 7-5 5-7 4-6 6-4 TO REACH THE FRENCH OPEN FINAL Soderling * 6-3 7-5 5-7 4-6 5-4 Gonzalez
Gonzalez pulls a shocker of a forehand into the tramlines for 15-30 but a Soderling error levels it at 30-30. Uh-oh, Gonzo's favourite line judge calls a serve wide but the umpire is quickly off his chair to check the mark and confirm the call. Soderling takes advantage with a backhand-return winner and it's break point... but he nets a backhand. More line-call trouble for Gonzo as a forehand goes close and the umpire has no idea, so orders the line judge out to show him the mark. It goes against Gonzo and it's break point two for Soderling.... but Gonzalez hits an ace. The Chilean the plays an absolute howler of a forehand for break point three... and Soderling takes it with a backhand return to break.
He will serve for the match.
Soderling 6-3 7-5 5-7 4-6 4-4 * Gonzalez
It's taken over three hours but we finally have both men firing on all cylinders and the crowd getting involved too. Soderling raises his fist triumphantly after flattening out a forehand winner for 30-0 and holds to love.
Soderling * 6-3 7-5 5-7 4-6 3-4 Gonzalez
Gonzo has a good long think about complaining when a forehand is called wide for 0-30, but it's on the other side of the net so we do not get a repeat of his unique style of line-cleaning. Soderling gets to 30-40 and makes a brilliant forehand-return winner to break back.
Coach Norman looks a lot happier now.
Soderling 6-3 7-5 5-7 4-6 2-4 * Gonzalez
Soderling looks very edgy as he puts a smash long for 15-15, and his coach Magnus Norman buries his face in his hands. A double-fault follows but the Swede fires a backhand down the line for 30-30 and holds.
Soderling * 6-3 7-5 5-7 4-6 1-4 Gonzalez
Soderling takes the opening point with a beautiful drop volley and attacks again at 15-15, but Gonzalez responds with a backhand pass down the line and takes the game with a cross-court winner off the forehand. Soderling appears to have decided the net is the place to turn this around from, though.
Soderling 6-3 7-5 5-7 4-6 1-3 * Gonzalez
Soderling ends a run of losing five straight games with a love hold.
Soderling * 6-3 7-5 5-7 4-6 0-3 Gonzalez
Right, you lot, I can't get my hands on any Wimbledon tickets so your efforts to rekindle a phantom friendship from California, Manchester, Darlington and various places of ill repute are, I'm afraid, wasted. Gonzo holds.
Soderling 6-3 7-5 5-7 4-6 0-2 * Gonzalez
Things are looking good for Gonzo when he hammers away a cross-court forehand for 0-30. Soderling gets back to 30-30 before Gonzalez thumps a forehand winner for break point.... and Soderling goes wide with a forehand to give Gonzalez the early break.
"How would Dan Maskell have commented on what Gonzo just did. Extraordinary! To coin a phrase 'doing a Gonzo' covers any form of cleaning carried out with ones bottom."From Massimo vi text on 81111
Soderling * 6-3 7-5 5-7 4-6 0-1 Gonzalez
Gonzalez opens the final set with a solid hold, despite one wayward backhand. He's still got a big clay mark on his backside though. Soderling's first-serve percentage slipped to 54% in the fourth set and he needs to improve that sharpish.
Soderling 6-3 7-5 5-7 4-6 * Gonzalez
A double fault and an error have Soderling in trouble at 15-30, and a mistimed backhand gives Gonzalez a set point at 30-40..... Gonzo benefits from a mishit return as Soderling cannot control it and goes wide with a forehand. Gonzalez breaks and we go into a fifth set.
Soderling * 6-3 7-5 5-7 4-5 Gonzalez
Extraordinary scenes on Chatrier for which I have no relevant graphic. Gonzo is incensed by a call, berates the umpire, then returns to the scene of the crime and proceeds to bend down and clean the 'mark' with his backside. Two points later the line judge in question calls in Gonzo's favour and we get some sarcastic applause. He holds serve amidst all that.* denotes NEXT server
Soderling 6-3 7-5 5-7 4-4 * Gonzalez
Soderling hits a great backhand down the line when under pressure at 30-15 and follows it up with an ace to hold. And nice try, Caroline, but I'm not falling for that old trick. Anyway, my head was always buried in books so I remember nothing.
"Are you the same piers newbery i used to share a flat with during my halcyon student days? If so any chance of getting me into the men's wimbledon final?"From caroline in manchester via text
Soderling * 6-3 7-5 5-7 3-4 Gonzalez
Gonzalez is the one holding serve with more confidence now and he pumps his fist after a love game.
Soderling 6-3 7-5 5-7 3-3 * Gonzalez
The Soderling backhand breaks down under a barrage of Gonzo forehands, and then at 30-30 we have a belter of a rally. Soderling is on the back foot but comes up with a fizzing forehand that Gonzalez cannot control. "Yes!!" screams the Swede, who goes on to hold.
Soderling * 6-3 7-5 5-7 2-3 Gonzalez
Soderling manages to miss the entire court with his last two shots in that game and we plod on in this so far uninspiring set. Super Rob has got his right shoe off and the doctor is inspecting the tape around his big toe. Lucky fella.
Soderling 6-3 7-5 5-7 2-2 * Gonzalez
"Jeu, Soderling." Says it all really. It's a nice day out there.
Soderling * 6-3 7-5 5-7 1-2 Gonzalez
Gonzalez moves in front with a solid hold of his own and then gets down to the serious business of taping up his little finger on the changeover.
Soderling 6-3 7-5 5-7 1-1 * Gonzalez
No problems for Soderling on serve, he holds to love.
"Speedy Gonzalez to end Sod's Law! Vamos 'nando!"From Tom in Bristol via text
Soderling * 6-3 7-5 5-7 0-1 Gonzalez
Not surprisingly, Gonzo is looking pretty pumped all of a sudden and we get another "Vamos!" before Soderling pegs him back to deuce. Gonzo then decides to go for some sliced backhands and puts one long, so it's break point Soderling
... but Gonzalez saves it with a forehand down the line. A backhand winner then gives the Swede break point number two
... but Gonzo finds another forehand winner. Soderling now hits a forehand of his own for break point three
.... Gonzo hits a big serve. A blistering forehand on the run helps Gonzalez hold. And, yes, I did put a bracket in the wrong place regarding Mrs Parker, my apologies to Tony. I imagine he's massive.
Soderling 6-3 7-5 5-7 * Gonzalez
Gonzalez gets into the kind of forehand groove that gave Murray so many problems the other day as he moves to 15-30, and Soderling then sticks one over the baseline and it's two set points
.... Soderling hammers another forehand well long and Gonzalez breaks to take the set
. "Vammmosss!!" he says.
Soderling * 6-3 7-5 5-6 Gonzalez
Gonzalez responds with an even quicker service game of his own and has at least guaranteed himself a tie-break.
Soderling 6-3 7-5 5-5 * Gonzalez
I nip out for a comfort break and return to see Super Rob wrapping up an easy hold.
Soderling * 6-3 7-5 4-5 Gonzalez
Soderling plays a beauty of a forehand to get to 30-30, angling it across the helpless Gonzalez, but he fails to make a return on the next two points and we remain on serve.
"Is it just me or does Robin Soderling bare a striking resemblance to John Cornwell off Dead Ringers? Please publish this Piers... you know you want to..."From pickle-puppet-pick-a-poppit on 606
Soderling 6-3 7-5 4-4 * Gonzalez
It's just not happening for Gonzalez today, as his normally trusty forehand throws up another error for 40-15 and Soderling takes the game with an ace. And it's celebrity graphic time as French basketballer Tony Parker is spotted in the crowd with his considerably more interesting (some might say) wife Eva Longoria.
Soderling * 6-3 7-5 3-4 Gonzalez
Biff, baff, boff - Gonzalez holds with some heavy serving.
Soderling 6-3 7-5 3-3 * Gonzalez
Goodness me. We get a couple of comical errors as Gonzo mistimes a backhand and it flies wide of the tramlines, wide of the court, and makes a clang as it apparently hits something metallic. Soderling responds with a pretty poor forehand of his own and Gonzo then moves to 30-40 and break point
... but he goes for everything on the return and only manages to endanger the centre-line judge. Soderling holds.
Soderling * 6-3 7-5 2-3 Gonzalez
That's all you need - it's 30-30 and Gonzo moves in to stick away a defensive ball from Soderling but it catches the tape and forces an error. The Chilean just stands and stares at the net like something from the Sopranos. He saves the break point
with a big serve and comes through anyway.
Soderling 6-3 7-5 2-2 * Gonzalez
Gonzalez nets a backhand and it's another easy hold for Soderling. Not much happening out there at the moment.
"Soderling is striking the ball well, maybe murray could have done better against him. But i think in this form, only federer has a chance against him as he only has the variety to trouble soderling."From anandsubm on 606
Soderling * 6-3 7-5 1-2 Gonzalez
Soderling swats a a backhand into the net to give Gonzalez a comfortable hold. "I'd like to see Gonzalez do something a little bit different here," says Mark Petchey on the Red Button.
"I think he's been very passive today and Soderling has been allowed to play well." As if on cue, Gonzo changes his trainers.* denotes NEXT server
Soderling 6-3 7-5 1-1 * Gonzalez
Soderling holds with ease and as the match goes through an early-set lull, the French TV director goes for some arty Gonzo-angst shots. There are plenty to choose from.
Soderling * 6-3 7-5 0-1 Gonzalez
Never mind, Dan, still a great line-up at Queen's. Meanwhile, Gonzalez holds at the start of the third on an almost silent Court Philippe Chatrier.
"Argh Piers, thanks for the bad news!! I've just bought 2 tickets for me and the misses, for Queens next Friday. Rafa was the main reason! Oh well, come on Murray!"Dan, London, via text
Soderling 6-3 7-5 * Gonzalez
Do you remember when Swedes used to be 'ice cool'? The usually fiery Soderling has been very much in Borg/Edberg/Wilander mode this fortnight but a desperate smash into the tramlines for 0-30 must test his patience, surely? Nope, he works his way back to 30-30 and then plays a wrong-footing forehand that sends Gonzo sprawling face down in the dirt. It pretty much sums up the Chilean's day so far. Soderling smacks down a service winner and he's one set from the French Open final. Who'd have thought?
Soderling * 6-3 6-5 Gonzalez
Some very tame errors see Gonzalez slip into desperate trouble at 0-40 and the game appears to be up for a moment, but the Chilean is not about to give in and digs deep to find three big serves. Another poor forehand follows though, and on break point number four
Gonzalez hooks a forehand wide. He than smashes his racquet into the dirt as Soderling breaks
Soderling 6-3 5-5 * Gonzalez
Soderling has his man on the run with some great hitting to lead 40-15, but Gonzalez comes back to level at deuce with a forehand down the line. Soderling then blasts a forehand well long and it's set point
... but the Swede hits an ace out wide. Soderling earns a game point, at which point Gonzo decides to run around his backhand on the return, steps outside the tram lines, and blasts what we all agree in this office is the biggest forehand anyone has ever seen, straight down the line. Soderling is not too impressed, though, and still goes on to hold.
1327: BREAKING NEWS: Rafael Nadal
has withdrawn from next week's Aegon Championships at Queen's Club because of "ongoing knee problems". He says: "I have been having some problems in the past months with my knees, that's no secret, that did not allow me to compete always at 100%. I need to work with my team to recover well, work on my physical condition to be at my top form and get ready for the grass to play at Wimbledon. I hope I can be ready to compete by then."
Soderling * 6-3 4-5 Gonzalez
Soderling plays a great point for 15-15, moving into the net and cutting off an attempted pass with a sharp backhand volley. A backhand winner down then line takes him to 30-30, and Gonzalez then goes long to give the Swede break point.
... we get a tense rally that ends with Soderling floating a sliced backhand long. "Vamos!!!!" yells you-know-who, but break point number two
arrives when he nets a forehand..... and Gonzo wallops a forehand that just dips onto the line. Soderling then hits a winner for break point number three
.... but Gonzo hammers down an ace and goes on to hold - "Vammooooosssss!!!!" Big game.
Soderling 6-3 4-4 * Gonzalez
Soderling holds to 15, easy. As for the Hawkeye appeals system, apparently everyone agreed it's not necessary on clay as you can check the mark of the ball. Personally, I'm a bit dubious about the accuracy of all this mark checking, but I'm not a world-class tennis player. Nor am I averse to a bit of tactical cheating.
"I have been watching this tournament for the whole two weeks always wondering where has the appeal system gone and why aren't they using hawkeye?"From Laurence via text
Soderling * 6-3 3-4 Gonzalez
Gonzalez races 40-0 clear but is pegged back to 40-30 before absolutely hammering an ace down the 'T'.
Soderling 6-3 3-3 * Gonzalez
'Eagle Eyes' Soderling holds to love again. Gonzalez looks a bit disconsolate at the other end of the court after making no impression whatsoever on another Soderling service game.
"I'm rooting for Soderling. Nice to see a proper action man haircut and not yet another floppy mop lookalike! Do you think he has eagle eyes too?!"From Ian via text on 81111
Soderling * 6-3 2-3 Gonzalez
We get a little burst of industrial Spanish from Gonzalez when a Soderling approach clips the line and forces an error for 0-30. Gonzo gets a bit lucky when a net cord sits up nicely on his forehand and he levels at 30-30, and the man from Santiago goes on to hold.
Soderling 6-3 2-2 * Gonzalez
Gonzo is making a hell of a racket out there as he struggles to keep pace with Soderling, but fortunately it's at a much lower pitch than the much missed Michelle Larcher de Brito. And it seems to work for the Chilean as a backhand lob has Soderling completely stranded, but again the Swede holds serve.
"See Gonzo, never change a winning team. Or in this case, a winning shirt. You looked so good in the bright yellow, and now the boring black is bringing you down. Have you learned nothing from Murray?"From tgsgirl on 606
Soderling * 6-3 1-2 Gonzalez
Soderling slides in to pick up a short ball and steers a backhand winner down the line for 30-30, but Gonzo serves his way out of trouble again.
Soderling 6-3 1-1 * Gonzalez
Soderling might be playing in his first Grand Slam semi but you wouldn't know it to look at him - cool as a cucumber. Another love hold for the Swede, and there are some rather desperate shouts of "Allez Fernando!" from young Parisians. Surely they should be in school anyway, non?
Soderling * 6-3 0-1 Gonzalez
I'm sure it's not top of his list of concerns at the moment, but Gonzalez continues to make a monkey of my predictive skills as more wayward shots see him facing break point.
.... but he batters his way out of trouble from deuce for a vital hold of serve, sealing it with an ace. * denotes NEXT server
"Dont worry piers, my luck is like that! Still it may even out if i say: Go Soderling, show us that Rafa wasnt knocked out in vain!"From Charlie via text on 81111
"Gonzalez looks like a totally different player to the one who beat murray. Shame for the british number 1 that he net him on such a good day. Still take nothing away from Soderling, he's been majestic."Andrew from Newcastle via text
Soderling 6-3 * Gonzalez
Bjorn Borg watches from the stands as his fellow Swede wraps up the first set. A dodgy backhand for 30-30 hints at some nerves but Soderling keeps them in check and seals it with a forehand swipe into the corner. And apologies for any delay in the updates, people here are muttering about "servers" and ringing support".
"Soderling is hitting better forehands than Gonzales at the mo. If he can keep this up I think he will get to his first slam final."From Andy in Bath viatext on 81111
Soderling * 5-3 Gonzalez
More pressure on Gonzalez at 30-30 but he serves his way out of trouble and keeps the set alive.
Soderling 5-2 * Gonzalez
Soderling plays out an impressive love-service game an he looks in great shape. Gonzo's decline can be charted back to precisely the moment I said on 606, "I'm going for Gonzo".
Soderling * 4-2 Gonzalez
After a great start, Gonzalez looks to be faltering a bit at 0-30 but he gathers himself sufficiently to get to 30-30. We then get a fabulous rally of huge hitting from both men, finished with a relatively delicate angled backhand winner from Gonzo. Still, Soderling responds with an off-forehand winner and Gonzalez then double faults for break point... and mistimes a forehand, giving Soderling the break.
Soderling 3-2 * Gonzalez
Gonzalez changes the pace with a succession of sliced backhands and it works as Soderling ends up hammering a backhand long and wide. The Swede recovers well though, moving to 40-15 with a delicate lob volley and taking the game with an ace.
Soderling * 2-2 Gonzalez
Great stuff from Soderling
, who hammers away into Gonzo's backhand corner and eventually prompts an error for 15-40 and double break point... and he takes the first with some more heavy forehands to break serve
Soderling 1-2 * Gonzalez
The Soderling radar is on the blink and he slips to 15-40 with a couple of loose errors. Double break point and although Soderling saves the first with a big serve, Gonzo
takes the second with a flowing backhand down the line to break serve.
Soderling * 1-1 Gonzalez
Things look a bit sticky for Gonzalez at 30-30 but he gets to game point and we then get the first of probably many 'who's got the biggest forehand' competitions. Gonzo wins, for now.
Soderling 1-0 * Gonzalez
Soderling looks happy enough at 30-0 but a Gonzo backhand straight at the body and a Swedish mishit help the Chilean to break point
... but Soderling makes a first serve and follows up with a big forehand to save it, and comes through to hold. * denotes NEXT server
Gonzo has ditched the bright yellow shirt and gone for all black, while Soderling is sticking with the white shirt and black shorts. The Swede to serve...
"I'd say this is gonzalez all the way. Soderling simply isn't a grand slam finalist."From Phil, Soho, via text on 81111
So, first up on Court Philippe Chatrier in just a moment will be Soderling v Gonzalez, which will of course be on the Red Button, website streaming (UK only), 5 Live Sports Extra (from 1330 BST)
and right here.
The head-to-head between Gonzo and Super Rob is 4-3 in the Chilean's favour, with the man from Santiago having won the last four including two on clay.
"Federer Gonzales final seems the obvious choice, but we've seen stranger things in the last 2 weeks! Lets hope we have some good matches today."From fastfanOFsport on 606
Here come the players.... "I feel good," says Soderling, who then agrees after heavy prompting that he's "been waiting for this my whole career." Gonzo looks very chipper, saying, "It will be good, I'm playing well." The pair emerge into a half-empty stadium, with the Chilean getting the louder cheer I'd say.
The good news is that, unlike London, the French capital appears to be enjoying more good weather and Court Philippe Chatrier is bathed in sunshine. It's a bit blustery, but I have no graphic for that.
Morning all, it's a big day today as it's men's semi-finals time and we will see if Roger Federer
can take another step towards a first French Open title or whether rising star Juan Martin del Potro
will poop his party, and whether Nadal-slayer Robin Soderling
can continue his incredible run against Murray-mauler Fernando Gonzalez.
All to play for...