Tomas Berdych – World Tour Finals contenders
Originally published on: 19/11/10 00:25
Age: 25 (September 17 1985)
Birthplace: Valasske Mezirici, Czech
ATP ranking: 6th
Season best: Runner-up – Masters 1000 Miami, Wimbledon
Season win-loss record: 44-24
Prize money (2010): $2,009,122
Record vs. top eight: Rafael Nadal 3-8; Roger Federer 3-9; Novak Djokovic 1-3; Robin Soderling 3-6; Andy Murray 2-1; David Ferrer 2-5; Andy Roddick 2-6
2010 Grand Slam record: Australian Open R64; Roland Garros SF; Wimbledon RU; US Open R128
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals best: Making debut
Season review: Beginning the year ranked at No.20, Berdych could only dream of a place at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. But after a scintillating summer including career-best runs at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, the dream became reality.
A semi-final showing at Brisbane set the ball rolling in 2010, but the Czech, who has long failed to maintain that level on a consistent basis – especially at the Grand Slams – promptly followed up with a second round loss to Kazak Evgeny Korolev in Melbourne.
He re-captured a bit of consistency in San Jose and Memphis, before Rafael Nadal ended his Indian Wells run in the quarter-finals.
In Miami, at the very next Masters 1000 event, the Czech really made his impact, reaching the final after defeating Roger Federer, Verdasco and Robin Soderling, before a fine Andy Roddick display denied him a second Masters 1000 title.
Verdasco finally got his revenge when the two met on the clay in Monte Carlo, which Berdych followed with a second round loss to Stanislas Warwinka in Rome and then a quarter-final appearance in Munich.
At Roland Garros, Berdych finally converted his obvious talent in to a decent Grand Slam run.
Sailing through the early rounds, Berdych faced an out of form Andy Murray in the last 16. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands, tearing through the Scot in three sets before blasting past Mikhail Youzhny to make the semi-finals. There he found himself faced with Robin Soderling – also in fantastic form – and an entertaining tie saw the Swede edge out the fifth set to reach his second successive final.
Buoyed by his performances, Berdych arrived at Wimbledon in good nick. His run was nearly cut short in the third round when Denis Istomin forced him to a decider, but the Czech managed to dig deep to secure the victory. Berdych, who defeated Daniel Brands in the last 16, then came up against five-time winner and defending champ Roger Federer. Unfazed by the imposing Swiss, Berdych produced a marvellous display to send Federer crashing, much to the disbelief of the Centre Court crowd. And the good times didn’t stop there – the Czech went on to down world No.3 Novak Djokovic to reach his first Grand Slam final. Unfortunately, and largely due to his imperious opponent, Berdych was a mere passenger in the final as Nadal rolled him over in straight sets.
The Czech never really kicked on from there, but he still reached the quarters in Toronto and Cincinnati. At Flushing Meadows, Berdych faced an awkward test against Michael Llodra, eventually losing out in sizzling heat that touched 100 degrees.
Berdych then went on to lose both his rubbers in the semi-final of the Davis Cup against Serbia.
Still needing to qualify for London, Berdych had no time for self pity, and though he made the last eight in Kuala Lumpur, early round defeats in Beijing, Shanghai, Stockholm and Basel meant that he didn’t officially qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals until the penultimate tournament of the year in Paris.
Last year’s Barclays ATP World Tour Finals: DNP
Berdych on London: “Qualifying for London is the pay off for all the hard work during the year and I’m very happy to see my name among the best eight players in the world.”
Chances: You don’t envy the Czech, having never played at the event, struggled for form and in the same group as Nadal and Djokovic. But as a result, there’ll be no pressure or expectation on the 25-year-old’s shoulders, which makes him a very dangerous customer…