|Posted on November 24, 2010 at 8:28 PM|
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals debutant Tomas Berdych boosts his semi-final chances with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Andy Roddick on Wednesday.
Berdych overpowers Roddick to claim first win
ESPN staff - November 24, 2010
Tomas Berdych won the battle of the big-servers as he overcame a nervy start to see off Andy Roddick 7-5 6-3 to claim his first win in this year's ATP World Tour Finals at the 02 Arena.
Berdych entered the Group A clash on the back of a straight sets defeat to Novak Djokovic and, perhaps conscious of the fact he needed to beat Roddick to have a realistic chance of reaching the semi-finals, the Czech appeared tentative in the early exchanges.
Roddick, who also tasted defeat in his first round-robin match at the hands of world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, soon found his range with some booming serves. Berdych, although making a host of unforced errors, also found his serve in good health as neither player could grab the initiative with an early break.
Some sublime touches around the net helped settle Berdych down and it was the world No. 6 who had the first sight of an opportunity to break his opponent. Up 15-30 on the Roddick serve in game eight, Berdych hit a tame approach shot into the net, leaving the American to breathe a huge sigh of relief and escape unharmed.
Berdych's nerve was then tested as Roddick earned himself two break points in the following game. Fortunately for Berdych, the 2003 US Open champion went wide with a pass and a belligerent forehand helped the Czech hold to make it 5-5.
Berdych then raised his level dramatically, slamming winners at will to break Roddick and claim the first set. The opening spell of the second set went with serve before Berdych turned the screw to earn the crucial break. Roddick never recovered and a resurgent Berdych sealed a morale-boosting victory with another break of serve.
"I started this week nervously, nothing special but today went better and I started to play better and better," said Berdych. "Just to go on court is really amazing."