|Posted on February 25, 2011 at 10:30 AM|
World No. 7 Tomas Berdych had moved to within one win of reaching his 12th tour-level final after he defeated Philipp Petzschner 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 48 minutes on Thursday. The Czech player earned his first win against Djokovic in the semi-finals of Wimbledon last year, but since then has lost to the Serbian three times, most recently in the Australian Open quarter-finals.
"[It will be a] tough one," said Djokovic. "He's been playing really well in the last year and a half. He's a quite consistent player right now. We played in Australia. He has a very powerful serve, very fast baseline strokes, very flat, so I guess I need to be patient and wait for my chances."
Third seed Berdych, who has yet to drop a set in three matches this week, saved six of eight break points and withstood 11 aces from Petzschner's racquet to improve to a 13-3 match record on the season.
"[Now I have] another nice chance to play the Australian Open winner, and [it's] always nice. So I will try to prepare as well, be strong, and try my chances."
Order of Play - Friday, February 25, 2011
CENTRE COURT - Starting At: 2:00 pm
Tomas BERDYCH (CZE) vs Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB)
Marcel GRANOLLERS (ESP)/Dick NORMAN (BEL) vs Sergiy STAKHOVSKY (UKR)/Mikhail YOUZHNY (RUS)
Roger FEDERER (SUI) vs Richard GASQUET (FRA)
Michael LLODRA (FRA)/Nenad ZIMONJIC (SRB) vs Jeremy CHARDY (FRA)/Feliciano LOPEZ (ESP)
H2H Tomas Berdych / Novak Djokovic
DUBAI FRIDAY PREVIEW - TOP THREE SEEDS IN SEMI-FINALS FOR FIRST TIME IN TOURNAMENT HISTORY
The top three seeds are into the semi-finals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for the first time in the tournament's 19-year history. Four-time Dubai winner Roger Federer, two-time defending champ Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych are part of the historic occasion. They are joined by former Top 10 Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who is unseeded. Federer and Djokovic each have won a title this season while Berdych and Gasquet are looking to reach their first ATP World Tour final of the year.
In the first semi-final, Djokovic takes a 5-1 career lead against Berdych, winning the past three meetings since losing to the Czech Republic native in the semi-finals at Wimbledon last July. Last month they played in the quarter-finals at the Australian Open and Djokovic rolled in straight sets. Djokovic is unbeaten in his last 13 matches in Dubai and overall is on a 12-match winning streak going back to last December's Davis Cup final.
Berdych is making his first semi-final showing in Dubai and second of the year (Chennai).
In the evening session, Federer brings a 7-1 career mark (3-0 on hard) against Gasquet. Federer, who won the title here from 2003-05 and '07, has a 28-3 career mark in Dubai. The Swiss superstar has only been broken once in 29 games this week and he owns a 13-1 match record on the season. Gasquet is making his second semi-final appearance in three years here. It is the Frenchman's first semi-final of the season.
(3) Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs (2) Novak Djokovic (SRB) Djokovic Leads 5-1
08 Bangkok (Thailand) Hard SF Novak Djokovic 7-5 6-1
09 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami Hard R16 Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2
10 Wimbledon (Great Britain) Grass SF Tomas Berdych 6-3 7-6(9) 6-3
10 SRB vs. CZE WG SF (Serbia) Hard RR Novak Djokovic 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4
10 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Hard RR Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-3
11 Australian Open (Australia) Hard QF Novak Djokovic 6-1 7-6(5) 6-1
SF: Chennai (l Wawrinka); QF: Australian Open (l Djokovic); Rotterdam (W/O vs Tsonga); Marseille (l Cilic)
YTD W-L: 13-3
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 5
Date of Birth: September 17, 1985
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 7
- Berdych, 25, is appearing in his first semi-final in Dubai (7-4 mark) after four straight second round finishes from 2005-08 - Has not dropped a set this week in wins over Jeremy Chardy 62 63, Nikolay Davydenko 63 76(5) and Philipp Petzschner 75 64 - Leads the tournament in points won returning first serve (39%) and No. 2 in return games won (40%, 12 of 30) - Has held serve 25 of 30 games (83%)
- The top player from the Czech Republic has a 13-3 mark this year and a QF or better in all five events
- He opened the year with a semi-final in Chennai (l. to Wawrinka) and followed with quarter-final efforts at the Australian Open (l. to Djokovic), Rotterdam (W/O vs. Tsonga) and Marseille last week (l. to Cilic)
- Has a 5-6 career record in finals and trying to win his first ATP World Tour title since Munich in May 2009
- The last Czech Republic native to reach the final here was Jiri Novak in 2003 (l. to Federer) - The lone Czech winner is Karel Novacek in the first year in 1993 (d. Santoro)
W: Australian Open (d Murray)
YTD W-L: 10-0
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 19
Date of Birth: May 22, 1987
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 3
- Djokovic, 23, the two-time defending champion, comes in with an 18-2 career mark in Dubai in his fifth consecutive appearance - In his first two visits, he lost in the quarter-finals in 2007 (l. to Federer) and the semi-finals in 2008 (l. to Roddick) - Since that loss, has won 13 straight matches here with titles in 2009 (d. Ferrer) and last year (d. Youzhny)
- The Serb is on a 12-match winning streak in ATP World Tour level play (31-2 in sets) going back to last season when he posted two wins in the Davis Cup final vs. France - His last loss came to Federer in the semi-finals at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London on Nov. 27, 2010
- This week is No. 3 in second serve points won (57%), first serve percentage (66%), No. 4 in first serve points won (78%) and No. 5 in service games won (88%, 29 of 33) and break points converted (59%, 10 of 17)
- At last month's Australian Open, he rolled to the title dropping only one set, that coming to Croat Ivan Dodig in a second set tie-break in the second round - After that, beat countryman and No. 27 Viktor Troicki [now No. 18], No. 14 Nicolas Almagro, No. 6 Tomas Berdych, No. 2 Federer and No. 5 Murray
- Has a 19-13 career mark in finals and has won at least one ATP World Tour title every year since 2006
Novak Djokovic reaches Dubai Championships final as injured Tomas Berdych retires
Tomas won first set, then...
DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Djokovic Closes On Dubai Three-Peat
by ATP Staff | 25.02.2011
World No. 3 Novak Djokovic will look to win a third straight Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title on Saturday, when he will meet either Roger Federer or Richard Gasquet.
Djokovic improved to 19-2 at the ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tournament after he beat third seed Tomas Berdych 6-7(5), 6-2, 4-2. Berdych retired due to a left quadriceps injury. He now has a 6-1 record against Berdych.
The Serbian is on a 13-match winning streak, which includes his recent triumph at the Australian Open (d. Murray), but actually described his win on Friday as one of his worst performances of the season. "I don't know how to explain today's match really. In one word: catastrophe," declared Djokovic. "I think the match overall and my game, it was the worst match this year for me, worst performance. But I managed to get a win, so I guess that's what matters."
On the hottest day of the tournament, the first set went with serve until the 12th game when Berdych created the first two break point opportunities of the match. With Djokovic serving at 5-6, 15/40, they were also two set point chances. Djokovic saved the first with an ace down the middle, then showcased superb defence in a long rally, before Berdych lashed a forehand into the net.
Berdych won points against serve early in the tie-break and opened up a 6-3 lead. Djokovic saved two set points on serve, but a backhand return hit long gave Berdych the 67-minute opener 7-6(5). Berdych had hit eight aces and won 71 per cent of service points in the first set.
Djokovic turned the tables in the second set, securing two breaks of serve from four opportunities. Berdych committed 12 unforced errors in the 43-minute set. At the end of the set, Berdych was treated for his left quadriceps injury.
Djokovic continued to press in the third set and after breaking Berdych to 30 for a 4-2 lead, the Czech walked to the net to shake hands.
"I was just not able to serve, move to the sides, and just felt pain," explained Berdych. "There was no chance to just play with this guy in the condition that I was feeling. I need to get healthy again and get to feel strong and be ready for another two very tough tournaments which are waiting for me in the States"
Djokovic struggles into Dubai final as Berdych retires
Fri Feb 25, 2011
By Barry Wood
DUBAI (Reuters) - Defending champion Novak Djokovic reached the Dubai championships final with a dramatic victory on Friday over Tomas Berdych who was forced to retire in the deciding set.
Djokovic won 6-7 6-2 4-2 in a fluctuating tussle with the third-seeded Czech who was hampered by a thigh injury in the closing stages.
The pair were evenly matched in the opening set with neither earning a break point in the first 11 games but Djokovic saved two set points before losing the tiebreak 7-5.
The Serbian second seed had looked sluggish in the first set but he offered more of a threat in the second, holding a break point for 2-0 and breaking for 3-1 when Berdych netted a backhand.
Both players saved break points in the next two games but Djokovic broke again for the set before Berdych called for the trainer and had his left thigh massaged.
Games went quickly in the final set as both players held serve comfortably until Djokovic broke to lead 4-3. Berdych lost the next two points before deciding to retire.
"The problem was my left quadriceps," Berdych told reporters. "Was not able just to serve, move to the sides, and just feel the pain. It's no chance to just play with this guy in the condition that I was feeling.
"Just didn't make sense to be walking and just be able to finish, so that's not my style. I felt it just too much for the serve and I couldn't serve. So to play Novak, one of the best returners, this time to play without the serve, no chance."
Djokovic was very unhappy with the way he played.
"I don't know how to explain today's match really. In one word, catastrophe," the Australian Open champion said.
"I think the match overall and my game, it was the worst match this year for me, worst performance. But I managed to get a win, so I guess that's what matters.
"I hate it when I play this way, but I was still trying to fight within myself and try to stay focused and at least hold serve."
Djokovic will play top seed and four-times former champion Roger Federer.
Tomas withdraws in pain during third-set
In the final set, Djokovic earned a break to lead 4-2 with a fine service return that landed on the baseline, and Berdych retired two points later.
"The problem was my left quadriceps," Berdych said. "Was not able just to serve, move to the sides, and just feel the pain. It's no chance to just play with this guy in the conditions that I was feeling. So, you know, just didn't make sense to be walking sides and just be able to finish, so that's not my style. I felt it just too much for the serve and I couldn't serve. To play Novak, one of the best return players, this time to play without the serve, no chance."