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Berdych Completes Dramatic Comeback; Qualifies Top Of Group A

Posted on November 25, 2011 at 11:25 PM

Tomas celebrates following his victory during the men's singles match against David Ferrer


Berdych Completes Dramatic Comeback; Qualifies Top Of Group A

by James Buddell | 25.11.2011

World No. 7 Tomas Berdych won Group A with a 2-1 record. Seventh seed Tomas Berdych has finished top of Group A after a dramatic 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory over fifth seed and 2007 runner-up David Ferrer on Friday at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Berdych's first win in more than six years over Ferrer, means he has qualified for a semi-final against sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Saturday evening. Ferrer, as runner-up in Group A, will meet third seed and five-time champion Roger Federer during the afternoon session. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic could have qualified with a 1-2 record, had Ferrer beaten Berdych.

"The turning point, I think, was just the one that I made on set point to win the second set, because all the time before I was down," said Berdych. "When I made the second set, it just gave me a lot of confidence [and] energy. I started to feel really great on court."

When asked about his semi-final opponent, Tsonga, Berdych said, "It's going to be definitely different match than the three previous ones. I think Jo is different. He likes to play aggressive. He likes to vary the game. [I] just need to rest and prepare for it. We are both playing well this week."

Berdych, who lost to Djokovic on Monday after holding one match point opportunity, finished round-robin play with a 2-1 record. The Czech has a career-best 53-21 match record on the year and is 6-7 versus Top 10 opponents. He lifted his sixth ATP World Tour title at the China Open in Beijing (d. Cilic) in October.

Pitted against a player who gets everything back, Berdych attacked the short ball relentlessly but his error count rose sharply. The pair's eighth encounter went with serve until 3-4, when Berdych's fell to 15/40 after he hit a backhand wide. Ferrer was gifted a chance to serve for the set, when Berdych mis-timed a forehand.

Ferrer clinched the 33-minute set, having dropped just five points on serve. The Spaniard largely capitalised on Berdych's second serves to break, as the Czech committed 16 unforced errors. 

When Ferrer broke Berdych to 30 for a 2-1 lead in the second set, the writing looked to be on the wall for the Czech, but Ferrer then got tentative. In the next game, Berdych failed to convert one break point chance at 30/40 when he hesitated on a forehand approach. But he made sure two points later with a delicate backhand volley, which Ferrer couldn't scramble up.

The momentum shifted again at 3-3, when Ferrer broke to 30 with a forehand winner down the line. Yet, minutes later, Ferrer squandered a 40/15 lead by losing four points in a row. Three groundstroke errors by Ferrer preceded Berdych ripping back a forehand return winner down the line.  

At 4-4, Berdych seized control of the set by firing down 137, 133 and 138 miles per hour serves that gave Ferrer little chance of returning them. Ferrer lost his concentration at 5-6, when he made a backhand errors to hand Berdych a set point opportunity at 30/40. Ferrer snatched at a backhand, hitting it long to end the 63-minute set.

The deciding set was remarkable. Berdych completed a run of 11 straight points for a 2-0 lead and three games later he had won 20 out of 24 points in the third set. Ferrer narrowly avoided a bagel set, but Berdych proved too strong in baseline rallies and he clinched his 53rd match victory of the season with his 24th winner. The match had lasted two hours and eight minutes.

The 26-year-old Berdych won 29 of his 35 first service points and hit eight aces. He converted five of eight break point opportunities and committed 43 unforced errors. Ferrer won 11 points in the third set, when he committed 13 unforced errors and hit three double faults.

"I think I was playing good the first set, and [then in] the middle of the second maybe at 4 3, 40/15, I didn't serve really well," admitted Ferrer. "I served very badly and I played my shots very short. In the third set, he was playing with more confidence. When it's not working, my serve, it's very difficult to beat the top players."

World No. 5 Ferrer will contest his 10th semi-final of the year on Saturday. He has a 58-18 season record, but is 7-9 against Top 10 opponents. The 29-year-old Valencia resident has a 2-4 record in ATP World Tour finals over the past 11 months.


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Tomas Berdych finished strongly to clinch victory

in a must-win Group A match with David Ferrer on Friday



Czech model Ester Satorova, girlfriend of Tomas Berdych watches her boyfriend play David Ferrer

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