|Posted on January 8, 2014 at 11:10 AM|
Tomas Berdych prepares his Australian Open campaign by playing the AAMI Classic, an exhibition tournament in Kooyong played on outdoor hard courts. He will open against Fernando Verdasco.
Order of Play - Wednesday 8th January 2014
Tomas Berdych v Fernando Verdasco
Grigor Dimitrov v Kei Nishikori
Richard Gasquet v Jordan Thompson
Stanislas Wawrinka v Gilles Simon
Chair umpire is Mrs Kelly Krusic
combo-image: Tomas Berdych def Fernando Verdasco
Tomas Berdych sets sights on Kooyong Classic title
Czech Tomas Berdych shrugged off a slow start to recover from 5-2 down in the first set to defeat Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 6-2 at the Kooyong Classic Wednesday.
Berdych, ranked seventh but winless last year, said that a red-and-white court background at the eight-man Australian Open tune-up made it tough for him to see the ball as he faced Verdasco.
"I struggled with the background, it was really tough to make out the ball. But after a while I started to see it more clearly," he said after his win on the opening day.
"I began hitting the ball better and my game got better and better as the match went on."
Berdych recovered in the opening set after losing an early serve before breaking Verdasco to make the score 5-all.
He claimed the set two games later after nearly an hour on court.
The Czech took a double break in the second set for a 5-2 margin before closing out victory a game later on his first match point.
"I faced some tough situations, it was a solid start," said Berdych, a first-round loser last week in Doha to Ivo Karlovic from Croatia.
Spain's Verdasco finished with more than 30 unforced errors in challenging conditions which included sun and wind.
"I need as many matches as possible in these fast conditions before the Australian Open," Berdych added.
"I have improvements to make to my game, but they won't be dramatic, just little by little."
Tomas Berdych in action against Fernando Verdasco of Spain during day one of the 2014 AAMI Classic at Kooyong on January 8, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. Berdych won 7-5, 6-2.
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