|Posted on July 14, 2009 at 1:10 PM|
ATP News - Tuesday, July 14, 2009
German Nicolas Kiefer marked his first return in 12 years to the Mercedes Cup with a 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 3 seed Tomas Berdych in the first round of the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament in Stuttgart.
The 32 year old suffered back-to-back first-round exits at Stuttgart in 1996 and 1997, but recorded his first win on Tuesday as he saved six of seven break points - while converting four of five opportunities on Berdych's serve - in the 78-minute match.
Kiefer had lost to the No. 21-ranked Berdych in all four of their previous meetings.
The Czech, who reached the Stuttgart semi-finals in 2006, played a key role in his country's defeat of Argentina in the Davis Cup quarter-finals at the weekend.
Tomas Berdych from the Czech Republic returns the ball to Germany's Nicolas Kiefer in their first round match
at the Mercedes Cup ATP tennis tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Tomas Berdych lost his first round match against Nicolas Kiefer
at the Mercedes Cup ATP tennis tournament in Stuttgart by 6-3, 6-3.
Berdych had been hoping for his second clay-court title in Germany this year, after winning in Munich.
Berdych also helped the Czech Republic reach the Davis Cup semifinals by beating Argentina last weekend.
Kiefer downs seed Berdych
Berdych was another player who experienced the tribulations of Davis Cup hangover today, with a meek and fatigued performance. The powerful Czech came into Stuttgart after helping his DC squad dispatch Argentina over the weekend.
Tomas Berdych, who was fresh from his weekend outing at the Davis Cup - where he played his part in knocking Argentina out of the Cup - struggled to find any rhythm on the clay.
Never one to hold the mental fortitude card in high esteem, Berdych appeared sluggish throughout the encounter against home-country hopeful Nicolas Kiefer, falling without a fight 6-3, 6-3.
Kiefer was in total control from the onset of the match, breaking Berdych's serve on four occasions and winning 76 percent of his first-serve points.
The German is exactly the type of player the big boys do not want to face when they are fatigued. Kiefer is feisty, can get under your skin, and is solid from every facet in the game.