French Open 31 match winning streak with a 6-2, 6-7(2-7), 6-4, 7-6(7-2) surprise win. Nadal, the Paris champion 2005-2008, had never before lost a match at the French Open.
The Swede Soderling showed power and touch in the victory, however the lefthander Nadal was suffering from painful knee tendonitis, which this year has not surfaced in Paris.
Head to head Nadal leads Soderling 3-2 but Soderling won their prior meeting last year in the round robin format of the Barclays ATP World Tour finals 6-4, 6-4 on a hard court. If Nadal can stay healthy this year and fight off the powerful forehand and serve of the Swede as well as execute his own overwhelming baseline game, he should be in a good position for his fifth singles title at Paris.
A championship win Sunday for Nadal would lift him from a current ATP Tour singles ranking of two to number one.
In the womenís field, favorites Venus and Serena Williams of the USA as well as Justine Henin of Belgium somewhat surprising losses paved the way for two relatively unknowns to meet in Saturdayís final.
Stosur upset the top seeded but error-prone Serena Williams in the quarterfinals 6-2, 6-7(2-7), 8-6 before stopping the fourth seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-1, 6-2 with her unusual mix of power and slice.
Her opponent the 29 year old journeywoman Schiavone took her lone WTA Tour singles title this year in April on the claycourts of Barcelona, Spain. She continued her consistent play in Paris to upset the third seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in the quarterfinals 6-2, 6-3.
Stosur reached the Paris semifinals last year in her prior best ever grand slam singles result while Schiavone had never before advanced past the quarterfinals of a grand slam.
Head to head Stosur leads Schiavone 4-1. After losing their first meeting in 2005, Stosur has not lost a set to the Italian and will look to continue to overpower her opponentís counterpunching game.