|Posted on October 9, 2011 at 7:55 PM|
Tomas Berdych poses with his trophy after defeating Croatian Marin Cilic in the men's singles final of the China Open tennis tournament at the National Stadium in Beijing, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. Berdych battled back to defeat Cilic 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
2011 Beijing - Berdych Boosts Finals Chances, Ends Title Drought
CHINA OPEN 2011
By ATP Staff | 09.10.2011
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals hopeful Tomas Berdych will move to No. 7 in the Battle for London after ending a 29-month title drought with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over Marin Cilic in the China Open final on Sunday in Beijing.
The Czech player is bidding to qualify for the season finale for the second year in a row and surpasses Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Year-To-Date Rankings by virtue of his triumph over Cilic. It was the sixth title of his career and his first since triumphing at the BMW Open (d. Youzhny) in May 2009.
"To win this title means really a lot to me because it's after 29 months," said Berdych. "It was quite a long time, so I'm happy that I could break this up. I think I couldn't have a better place to win a title than here in Beijing.
"I did a great move to have a good chance to qualify for London. Still, these two weeks in Shanghai and Paris I really need to do well. I want to do well. It just gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season and for the rest of the tournaments. So I'm really looking forward to that. I hope I can keep my level of game what I did and hopefully to win even more matches."
The unseeded Cilic made the better start to the match, breaking early before going on to close out the opening set. Berdych hit back at the start of the second set, but was unable to maintain his lead as Cilic broke back in the seventh game.
Under pressure, Berdych saved two break points with unreturned serves in the ninth game, before upping his level to snatch the second set from Cilic with a rifled backhand winner on break point in the 10th game. Cilic, who also finished runner-up in the 2009 Beijing final (l. to Djokovic), was unable to regain the momentum and fast began to unravel in the third set. Berdych broke twice as he raced to claim victory in just over two hours.
"I think the key moment was a break when it was 5-4; Marin was serving and I made a set point and just won the second set," reflected Berdych. "That moment I started to really feel great, get some more energy for the third set, and then it was just my turn in the third set."
The 26-year-old Berdych improved to a 47-18 match record on the season. Having fallen at the semi-final stage six times in 2011, the right-hander was contesting his first tour-level final since finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal in the 2010 Wimbledon title match.
ATP Homepage of Sunday, October 9, 2011
Berdych ends 29-month title drought with China Open
The waiting was the hardest part
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Berdych ends long winless stretch by mostly breezing through China Open to claim title with victory over Cilic
Tomas Berdych waited a very long time for this. Twenty-nine months, to be exact.
The Czech won his first title in Beijing and the seventh of his career, breaking a winless streak that stretched back to his championship at the BMW Open in May of 2009.
And that only came after he fought his way back from losing the first set to defeat Croatian Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, on Sunday at the National Tennis Center.
"To win this title really means a lot to me, you know, it has been 29 months; it has been quite a long time," said Berdych, the third seed in the tournament. "I'm really very happy with the result. I don't think I could have a better place to win the title than here in Beijing."
After easy victories in the first two rounds, Berdych stunned Spain's Fernando Verdasco, 6-1, 6-0.
He then reached his first final since Wimbledon in 2010 with a hard fought 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 victory over the top seed, France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The title helped the world's tenth-ranked player move closer to qualifying for the year-end Barclays ATP World Finals in London.
"Of course, I did a good move here to (get closer to qualifying) for London," he said. "I hope I can keep the level of game I had here, hopefully to win even more matches and qualify for London.
"Winning the championship is the best way to make you confident. There are still a few tournaments left in the season - next week in Shanghai will be very important. I'm very much looking forward to it."
Berdych earned a bye into the second round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters.
"There is another opponent waiting for me in Shanghai - he is really hungry to beat me, the champion from Beijing," Berdych said. "It could probably be my teammate Radek Stepanek in the Davis Cup - it could be a very interesting match."
After a memorable run in last year's Grand Slams - he made the semifinals at the French Open before that final at Wimbledon - Berdych stalled a bit this season, topping out with a visit to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.
But now that he's added a title, Berdych said he is pleased with his overall performance.