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Robin Soderling's absence

The only man to beat Rafael Nadal at French Open reflects

Updated: June 2, 2013, 10:45 AM ET
By LZ Granderson | ESPN.com

The month before suffering his only loss ever at the French Open, Rafael Nadal had destroyed Robin Soderling 6-1, 6-0 on red clay in Rome. That only added to the shock when the Swede, who at the time was No. 25 in the world, took Rafa out in Paris in 2009.

But flukes happen.

And considering Rafa was suffering from a knee injury, and later admitted he had been affected by his parents' separation earlier that year, the unexpected defeat was widely characterized as such. This was backed ...

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