|Posted on February 2, 2014 at 11:20 PM|
Brilliant Berdych puts Czechs through in Davis Cup
Published: 02 February 2014
by Daniel Bardsley | THE PRAGUE POST
The Czech Republic are through to the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup after Tomáš Berdych secured a dominant win today over his Dutch opponent, Thiemo de Bakker, in Ostrava.
The straight-sets victory for world number 7 Berdych over a Dutch player ranked 139th means the home team have now secured the three victories they needed to win the first round.
The Czech Republic will face Japan in the quarter finals in April after the Asian side beat Canada by four games to one in the first of this year’s eight first-round events to be completed.
While Berdych was ranked much higher than De Bakker, the Dutch player could have posed a threat, since he won by two sets to love when the pair met at the Swedish Open in July.
However, this time around, at the ČEZ Aréna, there seemed little doubt who would emerge as victor, with Berdych taking the first five games of the first set and De Bakker struggling to secure any points even while serving.
While Berdych’s baseline play was impressive, the Dutch player made a string of unforced errors and regularly buried the ball in the net before losing the set 6-1.
In the second set, Berdych’s advantage lessened as De Bakker got into his game, although the Czech player still emerged the victor by 6 games to 4.
With the crowd getting behind him further, Berdych upped his game again in the third set and at one stage held a 5-1 advantage in games. However, against the odds De Bakker managed to achieve a break of serve although the set – and the match – still went to the Czech player, with a winning margin of 6-3.
Afterwards, Berdych indicated the Czech team were relieved not to have fallen at the first hurdle of the Davis Cup World Group after winning the title in 2012 and 2013.
“It was tough after such a successful result in the past two years. I really wanted to do the best,” he said.
A deflated De Bakker said that, even after he had raised his game against Berdych following a difficult start, he was still unable to match the world number 7.
“He’s so consistent, he punishes me with every weak shot,” he said at a post-match press conference.
“I think I played enough good points, but to hurt him you’ve got to play that good point in, point out. But that’s tough. That’s why he’s top 10 in the world and I’m probably not.”
De Bakker had to win today’s game to keep alive Dutch hopes of achieving an upset in the first round, after the Netherlands had lost one singles game as well as the doubles match.
Berdych demolished Igor Sijsling in straight sets on Friday before he and Radek Štěpánek won yesterday’s doubles game against Robin Haase and Jean-Julien Roger. The Netherlands’ sole victory so far in the first round came in the opening game on Friday, when Haase beat Štěpánek in a five-set thriller.
Haase had been scheduled to face Berdych today, but after playing tough matches on Friday and Saturday, the Dutch team captain Jan Siemerink decided to play De Bakker instead.
Today’s final first-round game, known as a “dead rubber” since the outcome will not decide which team goes through to the quarterfinals, is seeing the Czech Republic’s Lukáš Rosol line up against Sijsling.
The quarterfinal clash the Czech Republic are now looking ahead to will be hosted by Japan.
Tomas Berdych Czech Davis Cup Hero