|Posted on October 4, 2014 at 7:25 PM|
Berdych powers his way through into the Open finals
Cinderella’s stay at the ball was cut short Saturday night when sixth-ranked Tomas Berdych beat 56th-ranked Martin Klizan 6-4, 6-1 on his way to the China Open finals.
Klizan found himself in the semi-finals after a sensational display Friday night in the win over No. 2 Rafael Nadal. But the 25-year-old Slovakian’s run at the title came to a screeching halt when he ran into the Czech powerhouse.
The first set was a tightly contested battle, with the only break in the final game of the set.
For the first nine games, the two players held serve resulting in a 5-4 lead for Berdych. Berdych failed on three break points until her finally prevailed on a break in the 10th and final game of the set.
Berdych was tested in the first set, but he said that he knew it was going to be a challenge from the beginning.
“I played him very tough match this US Open. I won 6?4 in the fifth,” Berdych said. “I kind of knew what to expect. I know what's his strength in his game. I was well?prepared for that.”
Early in the first set, Klizan fell after returning a shot. Berdych’s backhand fell into the net and Klizan was granted the point and won the game, but Klizan took a five minute medical timeout to tend to his right ankle.
Berdych said that he was glad that Klizan was able to continue the match after the scare.
“To finish the match like that, it's not the way that we all want to,” Berdych said. “It's really much more pleasant to fight for that and have a match like we had tonight.”
Klizan was clearly in high spirits after the tumble, as he was seen strutting his way to the baseline before the fourth game to the tune of “The Edge of Glory” by American pop artist Lady Gaga.
Just as the match was looking to be a marathon, Berdych made it into a sprint, only needing 26 more minutes to close out the Slovakian.
Berdych capitalized on two breaks in the fourth and sixth games and winning 13 of the final 15 points to secure the second set 6-1.
Berdych improved his first serve percentage over his last few matches in Beijing, contributing to his impressive service games.
Berdych never dropped his serve, but was able to break Klizan three times. His reliable return of serve neutralized Klizan’s big serve, allowing him to dictate more points and be more aggressive. Klizan only managed to win 54 percent of his first serve points.
This result sets up a final between two China Open champs: Berdych and Novak Djokovic.
The two combine for the last five China Open titles, with Berdych winning in 2011. Berdych has only beaten Djokovic twice, but looks forward to playing the world’s best.
“It's a final and it's against Novak. It's really special day for me,” Berdych said. “Every Sunday that we have to go on court and play, it means a lot because it's a final. Playing with No. 1 player in the world is always a bit special.”
Berdych noted that Djokovic is indeed back in top form at the China Open as he aims for his sixth title here.
“There is a new challenge, a new day, a new opportunity for me,” Berdych said. “I'm going to try to go there, try to take my chance and, again, try to play my tennis. Let's see what I can do with that.”
It will be a tough hill to climb for Berdych, but certainly not an impossible one.
(By Jason Bredehoeft)