Current Affairs Berdych puts Czechs through to Davis Cup semi-final
The World number 7 in men’s tennis, Tomáš Berdych, proved key in Davis Cup action at the weekend, helping the Czech Republic win three points against Serbia to put the Czechs through to the semi-final. Although his match against Janko Tipsarevic was a decidedly even affair he held on and at the weekend didn’t lose a single set.
The Czech men’s tennis team is through to its third semi-final in four years in the Davis Cup – largely thanks to the world’s seventh-best player Tomáš Berdych. At the weekend, he proved crucial against the Serbs, who were without world No. 1 Novak Djokovic (who is focussing instead on his career and the upcoming summer Olympics). On Day 1, Berdych easily dispatched Viktor Troicki 6:2, 6:1, 6:2 and a day later in the doubles he and fellow player Radek Štepánek, proved too powerful against Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac. The score in that match was 6:4, 6:2, 7:6, with the Serbs making a fight of it only in the final set. Here is what Berdych had to say:
“They started quite well and you know we didn’t fully expect it. We won two sets quite easily but you have to be careful with that and you expect that not all the games are going to go your way. Then we had a really important game when we came back from 40-0 down to get the break and finally we were able to finish it in the tie-break. Radek said he was feeling really tired and after all the emotion that was the best thing we could do: finish it in the third set.”
Earlier, Štepánek had lost against world No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic, so with the score at 2-1 for the Czechs, it was up to Berdych to now face the Serbian team’s top player. In their rubber each set went down the wire in tie-breaks: in the first, Berdych sent a powerful ball cross-court for the winner, in the second, he went to the net for the point. Still, the third set tie-break didn’t look at all like it would go the Czech’s way: he was losing 5:1 before storming back to win 9:7 after Tipsarovic sent the return into the net. So, 7:6, 7:6, 7:6. Berdych generally showed greater discipline and a touch more physical toughness and mental precision while willing to take risks on key points. Tipsarevic, after all, had had several chances to get back into the match but watched them slip away in the form of two missed set points. Tomáš Berdych again:
“It was really close but I think the difference may have been more experience on my side. I think it was definitely my mental side of the game as well: quite a few times I was down and I was able to come back and turn things around. He was actually up in all three sets so I think that was the difference.”
The win gave the Czechs the unassailable 3-1 lead they needed and Lukáš Rosol added a fourth for good measure, when he beat Troicki 7:6, 7:5 later on Sunday – a that would not have changed the overall result. The Czechs, who had a strong home crowd behind them in the quarterfinal, will travel to South America for the next stage in September: they will face a tough Argentina although the team suggested that opponent was somewhat more favourable than Spain.