Defending champs Nadal and Ivanovic crash out of French Open
Rafael Nadal's unbeaten run at the French Open is over.
The four-time defending champion from Spain lost to Sweden's Robin Soderling 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-4, 7-6 (2) on Sunday in the fourth round, ending his record 31-match win streak at Roland Garros stadium.
"He can't feel good right now," said Soderling, who called Nadal "the greatest clay-court player of all time."
Soderling, seeded 23rd, ran Nadal ragged on centre court with his hard serve and booming forehand.
Nadal has dominated the French Open since his first match on the red clay at Roland Garros. In his 31 previous matches, he had lost only seven sets — the last one against Roger Federer of Switzerland in the 2007 final.
"Well, that's the end of the road, and I have to accept it," Nadal said. "I have to accept my defeat as I accepted my victories: with calm."
Defending women's champion Ana Ivanovic of Serbia also lost Sunday, while top-seeded Russian Dinara Safina advanced to the quarter-finals with another easy win.
Also on the men's side, No. 3 Andy Murray of Britain and No. 12 Fernando Gonzalez of Chile made it to the quarter-finals.
Only man with Grand Slam hopes
Nadal had won three of the last four major titles, missing out only on the U.S. Open. Because he won the Australian Open, he had been the only man with a chance to complete a Grand Slam.
He had also been trying to become the first man to win five straight French Open titles.
Instead, the draw has opened up for three-time finalist Federer. The former No. 1 needs to win the French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam, and his road got clearer Saturday when potential semifinal opponent Novak Djokovic of Serbia was eliminated.
Federer lost to Nadal in each of the past three finals at Roland Garros, and in the 2005 semifinals.
"If one guy deserves it," Nadal said, "that's him."
The eighth-seeded Ivanovic did little right on Court Suzanne Lenglen, converting only two of five break points and making 20 unforced errors in her 6-2, 6-3 loss to Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
"I started really well, and I felt really good in the beginning. Then after the third game, actually after (the) first point in the fourth game, I just suddenly started feeling so dizzy, and I completely lost my balance," said Ivanovic, who won her only Grand Slam tournament title at last year's French Open.
"Ever since then it was really hard. I struggled with looking up. I started feeling very dizzy, and I was struggling a little bit to find my balance."
Maria Sharapova rallied again on the women's side, moving into the quarter-finals by beating Li Na of China 4-6, 6-0, 6-4.
Sharapova is making her return to Grand Slam tennis after almost a year off with a right shoulder injury. She lost the first set of her matches in the first and third rounds, and lost the middle set in the second round.
The three-time major champion needs only a title at Roland Garros to complete a career Grand Slam.