|Posted on January 4, 2019 at 8:45 PM|
Tomas Berdych continues dream comeback to reach final
JANUARY 4, 2019 22:05
by JOVICA ILIC | Tennis World USA
Returning into the action for the first time since June last year, the 33-year-old Tomas Berdych is ready to continue his career after a back injury that sidelined him for six months, scoring a 7-6, 6-3 win over Marco Cecchinato in an hour and 29 minutes to reach only the fourth ATP final after 2015 and the 32nd overall! Tomas is the third finalist of the Qatar Open who has reached the title match with a wild card and also the lowest-ranked finalist since Nicolas Escude in 2004.
The Czech hit 12 aces and he played well on both the first and second serve, losing just 15 points in 11 service games and saving two out of three break points to keep the pressure on Cecchinato who had won just four ATP matches on hard court before the strong Doha campaign that had to be ended in the semi-final despite having three set points at 6-3 in the tie break.
The Italian saved seven out of nine break points, prevailing in the longer points but losing too many shortest rallies up to four strokes to push Tomas over the finish line. 2015 Doha finalist saved a break point in the fourth game with a service winner but Marco forged a lead when he forced an error from his rival in the sixth game, moving 4-2 up and doing everything right on the court so far.
Creating four break points in the next game, Berdych converting the last one with a backhand return winner and they both served well in the remaining games to set up a tie break where Cecchinato went 2-0 up after a forehand error from Tomas.
Servers won the next nine points on serve and Tomas saved two set points at 3-6 with aces to keep his chances alive. A volley winner at the net secured the following point for him as well and he found himself 7-6 up after a forehand mistake from the Italian who made another mistake in the 14th point to hand the set to his rival who won five straight points! After a huge steal, Tomas held at love at the start of the second set and he never looked back, losing two points on serve in five games and creating three match points on the return at 5-2.
Marco saved them with some good hitting to bring the game home and reduce the deficit but that was all we saw from him, with Berdych hitting three winners in game nine for a hold at love and the place in the final, picking up a great result after such a long break and hoping for more of the same in the title match against Roberto Bautista Agut.
Tomas Berdych beats Marco Cecchinato to reach his second final in Doha
Tomas Berdych beat last year’s Roland Garros semifinalist Marco Cecchinato 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 in 1 hour and 29 minutes to reach the final at the Qatar Exxon Open in Doha. In Saturday’s final the 33-year-old Czech veteran will face Roberto Bautista Agut, who stunned Novak Djokovic in three sets.
Tomas Berdych has enjoyed a successful come-back after being sidelined for six months by a serious back injury. He has reached the 32nd final of his career and the 4th title match since 2015. He has become the lowest ranked player since Nicolas Escudé in 2004. Doha is Berdych’s first tournament since the Queen’s last June. Berdych dropped just 15 points in 11 service games and fended off two of the break points he faced.
In the first set Berdych fended off a break point in the fourth game with a service winner. Cecchinato broke serve in the sixth game to open up a 4-2 lead, when he forced an error from Berdych.
Berdych converted his fourth break-back point with a backhand return winner in the seventh game. Both players held their service games setting up a tie-break. Cecchinato got a mini-break in the tie-break after Berdych made a forehand error. Berdych saved two set points at 3-6 with two aces and won the next point with a volley winner. Berdych earned a set point at 7-6 after Cecchinato made a forehand mistake. The Czech player won his fifth consecutive point to win the tie-break 8-6 after another mistake from Cecchinato.
Berdych held serve at love before breaking serve at deuce in the second game to open up a 2-0 lead. He dropped two points on serve in five service games and earned three match points on return at 5-2. Cecchinato fended them off to hold serve at deuce for 3-5. Berdych held serve at love in the ninth game to reach his second final in Doha. Four years ago he finished runner-up to David Ferrer in his previous final at this tournament.
“I am not satisfied yet, because there is still one more to go. I did some very important decisions in the past six months, and so far all of them seems they were right. It is very early to judge I still have to be patient, even though the results are now clicking and it’s all going well. I really just need to stay very focused and hope to go all the way, because the season will be extremely long”, said Berdych.
Berdych leads 4-2 in his six head-to-head matches against Roberto Bautista Agut and won their most recent head-to-head match in five sets at the 2016 Australian Open.
QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN
January 4, 2019
T. BERDYCH/M. Cecchinato
Q. The key to the match today was the first set tie-breaker?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Yes, even though I was the first one who was the break down in the set, then I managed to come back and in the tie-break, yes, I was three set points down. I came back strongly with my good serve and then a very good volley, so, yeah, there was definitely the turning point of the whole match.
And I'm very pleased with that because I also managed to use that momentum of the situation for me.
Q. You were away from the game a few months last year. You must be satisfied with this that you did everything right. It's a good result to come here?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Not satisfied yet, because there is still one more to go, but potentially. So that's right now on the edge. But overall yes, I did some work, I did some very important decisions in last couple of, or last six months, and so far all of them seems they were right.
It is very early to judge. They still have to be very patient, even though the results right now are clicking and it's all going well, but I really just need to stay, you know, very focussed and hope to go all the way because the season and everything will be extremely long.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports