|Posted on September 29, 2016 at 3:00 PM|
One of the most popular players among Chinese tennis enthusiasts, Berdych will return to defend his title . He is looking to qualify for The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for a seventh consecutive season.
Tomas Brdych in action against Mikhail Kukushkin
Defending Champion Berdych Advances In Shenzhen
ATP Staff | Thursday, September 29, 2016
Top seed looking for first title of the season
Defending champion Tomas Berdych stayed undefeated at the Shenzhen Open on Thursday. The top-seeded Czech delivered 16 aces and withstood a tight contest from Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin to move into the quarter-finals 7-6(7), 7-6(4) in about two hours.
Berdych and Kukushkin both won exactly 84 points during their second-round match but the Czech was more clutch when the match was on the line. Serving at 5/4 in the second-set tie-break, Berdych delivered his 16th ace. Kukushkin netted a backhand on match point to give Berdych his fifth consecutive win in Shenzhen.
“It wasn't easy at all,” said Berdych.
The 31-year-old right-hander is trying to reach his first final of the season. The nine-month drought is the longest Berdych has gone without a final to start a season since 2011, when he won Beijing on 9 Oct. (d. Cilic). The 6'5” right-hander is also attempting to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the seventh consecutive season.
Berdych is currently No. 9 in the Emirates ATP Race To London, 580 points behind eighth-placed Rafael Nadal. The top eight qualify. But Berdych could cut the Spaniard's lead to 330 points if he repeats in Shenzhen and claims the 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points up for grabs this week.
Berdych will next face countryman Jiri Vesely, who beat Spaniard Inigo Cervantes 7-6(2), 6-3 during Thursday's final match on Centre Court. Berdych leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-0, including a 6-3, 6-2 victory in the Shenzhen quarter-finals last year.
Chair Umpire Mohamed Lahyani
Defending champion Tomas Berdych advanced to the quarterfinals by beating Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 7-6 (7), 7-6 (4) Thursday. The top-seeded Czech is trying to reach his first final of the season.