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Confident Berdych Outclasses Djokovic To Reach First Major Final

Posted on July 2, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Tomas Berdych beats Novak Djokovic for spot in Wimbledon final


by James Buddell  | 02.07.2010


Tomas Berdych produced a near-flawless performance against Novak Djokovic on Friday to reach his first Grand Slam championship final at The Championships.

Berdych, the No. 12 seed, outclassed third-seeded Serbian Djokovic 6-3, 7-6((), 6-3 in two hours and 18 minutes to become the third Czech player in the Open Era to reach the final at the All England Club. Jan Kodes captured the 1973 title, while former World No. 1 Ivan Lendl finished runner-up in 1986 and 1987.

The 24-year-old Berdych, who knocked out six-time champion Roger Federer in the quarter-finals, fired 11 aces and 34 winners past Djokovic, who committed 22 unforced errors and won just 27 of 102 points on return of serve.

On Monday, Berdych is projected to rise to a career-high No. 8 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings. Djokovic, who will return to World No. 2, dropped to a 31-10 match record on the season.

"I want to congratulate him," said Djokovic, who admitted to being nervous. "He played a great match and a great tournament. He's just a better player today on the court."

Swinging with confidence, Berdych created two break point opportunities in the sixth game with Djokovic serving at 15/40. He clinched a 4-2 lead when Djokovic hit a forehand into the net, confirmed the break and with five winners and three-of-three net-point winners sealed the 33-minute first set with a hold to 15. Djokovic had appeared tentative and found that his groundstroke length was too short. He won 13 of 20 service points and committed seven unforced errors.

Berdych, at 6’5” in height, showcasing tremendous movement and racquet head speed to out-hit Djokovic from behind the baseline, got himself out of trouble at 1-2, 30/40, with a powerful forehand winner and proceeded to put Djokovic under pressure in the fifth game. At 15/40, Djokovic managed to win four points in a row, saving break points with a forehand winner and an error from Berdych. 

Closing on a tie-break in the second set, Djokovic dropped to 0/40 at 5-5. Going for broke, he hit a 110 mph second serve to save one break point but then over-hit a smash to gift Berdych a 6-5 lead. But the 24-year-old Czech, the oldest of the semi-finalists, was far from confident in his attempt to take a two sets lead. Saving two break points, Berdych hit a backhand into the net.

Looking physically drained, Djokovic was given no respite in the tie-break when he fell to a 0-3 deficit. Berdych went on to lead 6-2 and twice served for the set. At 6-5, Djokovic hit a lob that landed on the baseline but it was called out. Hawk-Eye intervened and deemed the ball had clipped the line. The point was replayed; Djokovic hit a backhand winner down the line and he received a standing ovation from the Centre Court crowd for saving four straight set points. Djokovic went on to squander set point opportunities at 7-6 and 9-8, before Berdych clinched the 70-minute second set when Djokovic hit a double fault.

Five years ago at The Championships, Djokovic recorded his only comeback from a two-sets-to-love deficit at a Grand Slam championship against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the second round. But that possibility was quickly wiped away. At 1-2, Djokovic saved one break point with an ace at 30/40 but two double faults at 3-4 gifted Berdych an opportunity to serve for a place in his first Grand Slam championship final. He took it.

"To be honest I didn't feel great on the court," said Djokovic. "I don't know why. In that third set I kind of dropped the energy level and wasn't managing to step it up and be aggressive. Maybe because I was so much far behind the baseline and just kind of defending myself."


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