|Posted on March 31, 2010 at 3:06 AM|
"The feeling is great," Berdych said. "I'm really extremely happy, you know. With Roger, you have to be always 100 percent ready. He's fighting until the last point."
Tomas Berdych shocks No. 1 Roger Federer in a three-set thriller at the Sony Ericsson
By Carlos Frias | Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
KEY BISCAYNE — Down goes No. 1.
Roger Federer, the world's No. 1-ranked player and the top seeded player in the men's draw at the Sony Ericsson Open, was stunned late Tuesday night by rising star Tomas Berdych in a three-set thriller, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (6)
It has been truly maddening at the top of the men's bracket this March in Key Biscayne. Federer's loss means the top three men's seeds have been eliminated.
No. 2 Novak Djokovic and No. 3 Andy Murray were upset last weekend.
Berdych pounded Federer with a searing serve, and a disbelieving pro-Federer crowd was shocked to see the world's most fundamentally sound player make continued mistakes .
Federer missed more than a month recently with a lung infection and said he felt his game still has not recovered.
"My game has issues at this moment," Federer said. "I've had timing issues the last couple weeks and it leaves my confidence lacking."
From the first set, when he was blasting shots erratically long and wide, closing with a double-fault, it was clear this was not Federer in peak form. Meanwhile, Berdych played what could be the match of his career against a player he had defeated only once in nine tries.
It was only Federer's defense that kept him close. He still made incredible shots with the flick of wrist, from a cross-court lob over his head, Willie Mays-style, to blazing passing shots with the end of his racket. That defense gave him the second-set tiebreaker, and the momentum going into the last set.
But it didn't last, as his 62 unforced errors mounted. Federer won just two of 12 break points, when he simply missed long and wide on shots he regularly makes.
Berdych quickly went up a break on Federer, to lead 3-1 in the third. And when it came to another tiebreaker, it was Berdych playing with the composure of a champion.
"To beat the No. 1 player in the world is a great feeling, but it's not the final and there's another match waiting the next day," Berdych said. "I think this just shows the tour is pretty tough.
Berdych, the 16th seed, hammered six aces and won 67 per cent of his first service points in the two hour, 51 minute match on the hardcourts at Crandon Park.
.../... But we were underestimating Tomas. Undaunted, he went for another pounding forehand and scored cross court with a clean winner. What a shot! Another great forehand forced a backhand error out of Federer on the next point and the perplexed and confused world No.1 wasted all his night's toil by hitting a forehand long at 6-7 to hand Berdych the best victory of his career. You couldn't say he didn't deserve it.