Paris All that stands between Rafael Nadal and a fifth French Open title is the only player ever to beat him at Roland Garros.
Nadal and Robin Soderling won semifinals Friday to set up a tantalizing rematch. Soderling pulled off a stunner when they met in the fourth round last year, and the upset remains Nadal’s lone loss in 38 French Open matches.
“It’s always good to have beaten a player before,” Soderling said. “I know that I can beat him. I showed it. But every match is a new match, and every match is different.”
Soderling, runner-up to Roger Federer in 2009, returned to the final by sweeping the last four games to overtake No. 15-seeded Tomas Berdych, 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3. Nadal then beat No. 22 Jurgen Melzer, 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (6).
Soderling has a knack for upsets in Paris — he beat Federer in the quarterfinals this week — and he’ll be an underdog again Sunday.
The No. 2-seeded Nadal has won all 18 sets in this year’s tournament, and he’s 21-0 on clay in 2010. He seeks to become the second man to win at least five French Open titles. Bjorn Borg won six.
Should Nadal win, he’ll reclaim the No. 1 ranking from Federer next week.
“Believe me, if I win on Sunday, it’s going to be the last thing I think,” Nadal said. “The important thing is the tournament.”
Venus and Serena Williams won their fourth consecutive Grand Slam doubles title and 12th overall by beating Katarina Srebotnik and Kveta Peschke, 6-2, 6-3. First-time Grand Slam finalists Samantha Stosur and Francesca Schiavone play for the title in women’s singles today.
Orioles fire manager Trembley
Baltimore — Desperate to rejuvenate a team drained by losing, the Baltimore Orioles fired manager Dave Trembley on Friday.
The Orioles (15-39) owned the worst record in the major leagues entering Friday night’s game against Boston. They had lost eight straight and were coming off an 0-6 road trip in which they were outscored, 34-8, in Toronto and at Yankee Stadium.
Third base coach Juan Samuel was appointed interim manager by president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail.
After getting off to a 2-16 start — second-worst in franchise history — the Orioles appear to be staggering toward a 13th consecutive losing season.
“The results on the field were not what any of us would have hoped for, and I understand that the organization felt the time was right to move in a different direction,” Trembley said in a statement.
Indians’ Sizemore out for season
Cleveland — Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee. Sizemore underwent a 90-minute operation on Friday in Vail, Colo. The team says the procedure performed by Dr. Richard Steadman included microfracture, which involves the drilling of small holes into the kneecap to stimulate the growth of cartilage.
Flyers draw even with Blackhawks
Philadelphia — Mike Richards, Matt Carle and Claude Giroux all scored first-period goals, and the Philadelphia Flyers hung on to beat the Chicago Blackhawks, 5-3, on Friday night to even the Stanley Cup finals at 2-all.
Game 5 will be Sunday night in Chicago.
Jeff Carter scored an empty-netter in the final seconds to help the Flyers become the first team this series to win a game by more than one goal. The Flyers, trying to win their first title since 1975, nearly let the victory slip away in the third.
Kyle Busch takes pole at Pocono
Long Pond, Pa. — Kyle Busch turned a lap at 169.485 mph to win the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday at Pocono Raceway. The winner of two of the last four races, Busch earned his second pole of the season. Clint Bowyer qualified second Friday, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. was third.
Bodine takes sixth trucks victory
Fort Worth, Texas — Todd Bodine stayed in front for two late restarts, including a green-white-checkered finish, to become a six-time winner in the NASCAR Trucks Series at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night. Johnny Sauter finished second in his Chevrolet, and polesitter Austin Dillon was third.
Fowler leads by three at Memorial
Dublin, Ohio — Rickie Fowler ran off three straight birdies late in his round for a 6-under 66 to tie the 36-hole record at the Memorial Tournament and take a three-shot lead over Justin Rose into the weekend at soggy Muirfield Village. Fowler was at 13-under 131, matching the record set by Scott Hoch in 1987. Defending champion Tiger Woods birdied three of the opening five holes, then ran off three straight birdies on his front nine to offset the few mistakes for a 69. He was at 3-under 141, 10 shots behind, but still playing.
Armour tops Principal Charity
West Des Moines, Iowa — Tommy Armour III matched the Glen Oaks record with an 8-under 63 to take a three-stroke lead in the Principal Charity Classic. Dan Forsman and Russ Cochran opened the Champions Tour event with 66s.