|Posted on November 19, 2015 at 8:50 PM|
Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych walks into the arena to play in their singles tennis match at the ATP World Tour Finals, at the O2 Arena in London, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.
Djokovic Qualifies For SFs, Sets Up Nadal Blockbuster
ATP Staff | 19 November 2015
Defending champion and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic booked a spot in semi-finals of the Barclays ATP Word Tour Finals on Thursday, defeating No. 6 seed Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5 in the final Group Stan Smith round-robin match at The O2.
With the win, Djokovic finishes second in his group behind Roger Federer, who earlier on Thursday defeated Kei Nishikori 7-5, 4-6, 6-4. The Serb will next face Group Ilie Nastase winner Rafael Nadal.
The round-robin match saw the foes exchange early breaks in the opening set. Djokovic moved ahead with a break in the eight game, and subsequently stepped to the service line to consolidate.
He raced out to a 2-0 lead in the second set, but Berdych would bring the set back on serve with a break of his own. However, serving at 5-all, the 30-year-old Czech was broken when a backhand sailed beyond the baseline. His opponent would close out the match in one hour and 29 minutes. Despite 10 aces and a two-for-two break-point conversion rate, Berdych was saddled with 31 unforced errors.
"His game relies a lot on the serve," said Djokovic, who finished with 10 winners to 16 unforced errors. "If he doesn't have a high first-serve percentage, I'm able to step in and take advantage of the second serve. Then he starts losing a little bit of confidence in his game. If he's serving on a high level, he can really be a threat for anybody on any surface. I know that because I've had many close matches with him. Because I've won so many times against him, maybe there is this factor of mental edge; maybe an advantage in important moments, decisive moments where I'm able to stick around and stay tough and believe that I can actually win."
"It's a bit disappointing not to have any wins here, said Berdych, who finishes at 0-3. "[But] it's not about 'if' or whatever impression you may have. It's always about the result. I think tennis is about that. There is only a winner and loser, nothing in between. I think I had a slight good chance, but that's how it is. There were quite a few mistakes in the tough moments. That decided it today."
Djokovic upped his Fed Ex ATP Head2Head record against Berdych to a lopsided 21-2, including an 18-0 mark on hard courts. This was the fifth time in the past six years that they had met in London, Djokovic winning all five encounters.
The 28-year-old Belgrade native lost to rival Federer 7-5, 6-2 on Tuesday, breaking streaks of 38 consecutive indoor match wins, 23 overall this season and 15 straight at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
Making his ninth consecutive season finale appearance, the reigning three-time champion has now compiled a personal-best 29-5 record vs. Top-10 opponents.
Score and Stats - Novak Djokovic def. Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5.
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Novak Djokovic shakes hands with Tomas Berdych after his victory in their men's singles match on day five of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 19, 2015 in London, England. Djokovic won 6-3, 7-5.
Novak Djokovic shakes hands with Tomas Berdych after his victory in their men's singles match on day five of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 19, 2015 in London, England.