Berdych dethrones King of SW19
Originally published on: 30/06/10 17:10
Hold on to your hats folks, a Wimbledon victory is up for grabs to the most determined bidder. After six years in the hands of the imperious Swiss – bar a temporary vacation to Spanish palms in 2008 – the most prestigious title in world tennis will not be gripped by Roger Federer on the final Sunday of this year’s tournament.
Defeated 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-4 by Tomas Berdych on another sizzling day at the All England Club, Federer departed Centre Court and this year’s championships four days ahead of schedule. Not since 2002 – when he was dumped out in the first round in straight sets by Mario Ancic – had he failed to make at least the final.
“I don’t think I played poorly but he went after it,” said the world No.2 after his shock exit. “I was not able to defend well enough and I didn’t come up with the good stuff when I had to.”
Berdych was full of “the good stuff,” taking the momentum with a decisive break for the opening set and racing through the third with two more. Federer had pegged him back in set two, but come the business end of the fourth, Berdych could almost taste the historic victory.
He broke in the ninth game and served for the match in the tenth, swinging his arms jubilantly skywards after rocketing a ball across court and past the ailing Federer for a remarkable triumph.
“It’s really tough to explain how I’m feeling, it’s unbelievable,” said Berdych, before the reality of his achievement had truly sunk in.
“To play on this stadium against a player as great as Roger and to be standing here as the winner is absolutely amazing.
“This was the toughest match of my career to close out, it’s a big step forward and I’m so happy.”
The 24-year-old becomes the first Czech man to reach the last four since Ivan Lendl did so in 1990, and with Novak Djokovic up next, he’ll hope to surpass his countryman’s feat with a place in the final.
“Right now it’s really tough to think about my next match,” he said. “I just want a few minutes and hours to enjoy this. Then I have to get ready and prepare for my next opponent.”
Djokovic, who beat Andy Roddick’s conqueror Yen-Hsun Lu for a place in his second career semi-final at Wimbledon, will have half an eye on a spot in his third Grand Slam final having beaten Berdych in their two previous meetings.