|Posted on June 1, 2014 at 1:10 PM|
Berdych makes short work of Isner
Sunday, June 1, 2014
By Dan Imhoff (official website Roland Garros
There are days when a scoreline does not do a match justice. For Tomas Berdych, this was not one of those - his straight sets 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over big-serving American John Isner was clinical.
What was tipped as potentially one of the toughest fourth-round match-ups on paper was anything but. The Czech sixth seed, still searching for that elusive first major, broke the 2.06 m American early in each set and was never headed. He outperformed Isner in every department. Where the 10th seed could typically rely on coming out on top in the ace count, even there he could not claim bragging rights – Berdych hit 11 to Isner’s seven. Berdych won more points at the net, his 36 winners were 10 more than his opponent’s and his 13 unforced errors fewer than half.
“There was quick breaks in each of the sets. That's something which really helps through all the match, especially with a guy like John. He likes to stay as close as possible, serving well. I think it's a good thing to avoid playing the tiebreaks with him,” Berdych said. “So that was one of my plans in the beginning, and I'm really glad that it was working pretty good.”
The Czech player, who completed a set of Grand Slam semi-final appearances by reaching the last four at this year’s Australian Open, lost in the opening round last year to Gael Monfils. 12 months on, he is through to his first quarter-final at Roland Garros in four years and is cautiously optimistic he can at least emulate his best result in Paris from that year, a run to the semi-finals. “Well, of course I'm confident if you win four matches. Then you feel good,” Berdych said. He will play Ernests Gulbis in the last eight after the Latvian's five-set win over Roger Federer.
The signs were worrying for Isner from the get-go. Berdych broke him to love in the opening game of the match and sustained the advantage, ripping consecutive cross-court forehand winners and bringing up set point with an ace. He would close out the opener 6-4 when Isner shanked a forehand wide.
The second set began in identical fashion. Berdych broke in the opening service game when the big American misfired metres wide on a forehand. It was the only opening he would require to take the set. Trouble set in early again for Isner in the third, but not without a fight. He saved three break points at 1-1 before the talented Czech played a clever dipping forehand into the body of the American at net.
Berdych held with an ace for 5-3 and with the inevitable unfolding for Isner, he snapped his racquet in half before the sixth seed would serve to close it out. He brought up match point with an overhead putaway before an ace sealed it after one and 41 minutes.
Patience may be a virtue on clay, but Berdych was having none of it today.