THE CZECH TEEN-AGER
Legg Mason Washington 2005
On Wednesday evening on an outside court,
teen-aged Czech player Tomas Berdych faced veteran Aussie Wayne Arthurs. Berdych
at 19 is an obvious rising talent, a heavy server and ground-stroker, listed at
Berdych rather similarly dispatched Grosjean, showing excellent power and control to the corners in winning a close first set. Grosjean broke serve early in set two, and thereafter the French player's game seemed to soften, probably because of the heat. The still-strong teen-ager closed out matters convincingly. Then on Friday, Tomas advanced by winning two tiebreak sets over American Bobby Reynolds. Reynolds, 23, is a nice competitor--excellent in his court mobility, able to drive consistently in extended points, and able to summon fairly good pace in his serving and stroking. Berdych again played with little variety, content to plaster his first serves and forehands and achieve consistency in his two-handed backhand hitting. There was one stretch where the Berdych backhand regularly found the net, especially against off-pace shots. But for most of the going the only question was whether Berdych could keep his superior power in court. Reynolds seldom threatened at net, and Berdych came forward only to finish off floaters or when invited by plop shots (soft, low, shortish returns firmer than drop shots).