|Posted on March 5, 2010 at 5:13 AM|
Czech team during opening ceremony on Friday, March 5, 2010
Opening singles rubber Tomas Berdych vs Olivier Rochus
It's been three years since Belgium won a World Group tie and reached the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas quarterfinals, and once again their 2010 campaign begins against one of the strongest Davis Cup nations around - Czech Republic.
Belgium is heavily reliant on world No. 59 Olivier Rochus, who has been nominated for three rubbers this weekend, with the Davis Cup veteran taking on the higher-ranked Tomas Berdych in the opening singles rubber. This is their fifth career meeting but Rochus has not won a match against the Czech since 2005.
In the second rubber Xavier Malisse, still on the comeback from a long-term injury, will take on Berdych's sidekick Radek Stepanek, a tricky opponent who performs at his utmost in Davis Cup. Malisse however won their most recent meeting at San Jose in early February.
Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych serves the ball towards Belgium's Olivier Rochus
during the first day of the Davis Cup tennis match in Bree, Belgium, Friday March 5, 2010.
The 1st point goes to the Czech Republic.
Hell of a job! Congrats Tomas! He needed 6 mp ;-)
Tomas Berdych enjoyed a comfortable straight sets victory over Olivier Rochus
to put Czech Republic in front against Belgium.
Berdych overpowers Rochus
Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic was too much to handle for the younger of the Rochus brothers, Olivier, in the first rubber on Friday.
Berdych, or Berda, as he is nicknamed at home, defeated the Belgian No. 1 63 60 64 in two hours, 21 minutes to give Czech Republic the early lead.
An upset was never really on the cards for Rochus, who shot himself in the foot by losing his opening service game in all three sets. Berdych, on the other hand, consistently consolidated his breaks and even doubled up in the second set.
It wasn’t until the third set that Rochus was finally able to capture Berdych’s powerful and precise serve. Unfortunately, the Belgian was already down 4-1 and double break when he showed signs of rebellion.
At this stage, Berdych looked like he was beginning to fatigue. This, however, only came when the world No. 25 was serving for the match.
The momentum shift allowed five match points to be saved by Rochus and the atmosphere in Expodroom Bree, which was previously hushed by Berdych’s dominating tennis, began to leak out of the stands.
The sixth match point was, however, the final one, and Czech Republic went 1-0 up.