Defending champs Nadal, Ivanovic out of Paris

In a shock of all shocks in recent Grand Slam history, both defending champions at Roland Garros were knocked out of the tourney's fourth round today.

The biggest shock of 'em all came via Robin Soderling who played some uber-aggressive ball during his stunning 6-2 6-7(2) 6-4 7-6(2) upset of Rafael Nadal. It was Rafa's first loss ever in Paris and was denied a record-setting fifth consecutive crown. The stats told the tale: the Swede hit 61 winners to 33 for Rafa, hit 9 aces, converted on 5 of 6 break chances, and had a 77% success rate up at net.

Seriously, this is Roger Federer's golden egg (read: First French Open, Career Slam, Pete Sampras-tying 14th major) to win or lose with both Rafa + Novak Djokovic out (the Serb lost to Germany's Philip Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 yesterday). He may never get this kind of opportunity again. And would it be the same win even if Fed didn't have to defeat Rafa for the title? HELL YEAH. A win's a win. But really, no pressure.

Ana Ivanovic seemed to be rounding into solid form having lost only 6 games in her last 2 matches. But her shaky confidence, as evidenced by the return of her wayward service toss, was exposed by Victoria Azarenka who was the more aggressive baller on-court. The Belarusian earned an easy 6-2, 6-3 win and inflicted another early exit from a Grand Slam on the Serb.

In fact, the last time Ana made it past the fourth round of any major was during her championship run in Paris last year. I'm getting visions of a Svetlana Kuznetsova career moment here. Not a good sign.

Rich Rodriguez writes the tennis blog Down the Line!

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