Berdych keeps hopes of qualification alive
Originally published on: 23/11/11 18:02
Tomas Berdych made amends for his agonising opening round defeat to Novak Djokovic by edging out O2 debutant Janko Tipsarevic to win his second round robin match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
The Czech had lost his nerve with victory in sight against the world No.1 on Monday but avoided going down in his second tug of war with a Serbian in as many matches, shrugging off a match point in the tiebreak to secure a 2-6 6-3 7-6(6) triumph.
“That’s the best [thing] about tennis. It’s not over until the last ball is [struck]. I think that’s really nice about the sport,” Berdych said.
“I was a bit unlucky on Monday. I got luckier here. There is still a good chance to qualify and go through.”
Though Berdych is still in the mix for a place in the last four, the result meant heartbreak for Tipsarevic, who had to beat both Berdych and his countryman Djokovic to stand a chance of reaching the semi-finals.
The 27 year old only discovered he would play at the year-end tournament on Tuesday afternoon after Andy Murray had pulled out with a groin strain. But after training at the O2 Arena each day, he hit the ground running, breaking on Berdych’s opening service game before riding out the opening set in 37 minutes.
His opponent, who had initially expected to face Murray in a repeat of their enthralling match at the BNP Paribas Masters a fortnight ago, knuckled down in the second set amidst reasonably muted surroundings within the O2 Arena, breaking in the eighth game after firing hard and low to the right side of the onrushing Serb.
That break was enough to see Berdych through the second set in 42 minutes, but little separated the two in a 67-minute final set that was ultimately decided on a gripping tiebreak.
Tipsarevic held a match point at 6-5 but when he miscued a forehand, and was denied any suggestion of victory by Hawkeye, Berdych seized his chance, striking a forehand into the open court for victory after the world No.9 had lost his footing and crashed to the floor.
“I am okay,” said Tipsarevic after the match. “My right knee still hurts. But I’m feeling this dull pain. It was just a hit on the ground. We’ll see what’s going to happen when I cool off.”