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Berdych Moves One Step Closer To London Qualification With Stockholm Trophy

Stockholm, Sweden

Berdych© AFP/Getty ImagesStockholm titlist Tomas Berdych is bidding to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the third straight year.

Czech Tomas Berdych took a big stride on Sunday in improving his chances of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

"London is always a goal every season," said Berdych on his bid to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. "You have to play well the whole year to qualify. It will be special for me, if I make it for the third year in a row. I then hope to do well for Czech Republic in the Davis Cup final at home."

The second seed beat top-seeded Frenchman and fellow London contender Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 29 minutes to capture the If Stockholm Open title.

The last Czech to win the title was Ivan Lendl in 1989 (d. Gustafsson). It was the first time the top two seeds contested the Stockholm final since 1991, when No. 2 Boris Becker beat No. 1 Stefan Edberg in five sets.

Berdych won his eighth ATP World Tour title in his 16th final. He received a cheque for €87,870 and earned 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points. Tsonga, who dropped to 9-7 lifetime in finals, picked up €46,280 and 150 points.

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Tsonga saved two match points at 4-5, 15/40 in the deciding set, but Berdych made it third time lucky to improve to 6-11 this year against Top 10 opponents with his second ATP World Tour title of the year (also Montpellier). He held 40 of his 43 service games during the ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tournament.

"It feels pretty good to have won a second title this season," said Berdych. "When I was 2-4 down in the second set, I remained positive and focused on my game. Against Jo you have to stay positive until the last point. I am happy that I was able to turnaround the match and that’s what makes this title special."

Tsonga, who was making his tournament debut this week, dropped to 2-2 in title matches and to 53-20 this year. Berdych, who also beat Tsonga in the recent Shanghai Rolex Masters quarter-finals, improved to a 57-19 season mark.

"I feel bad, because it was a good final and a close score," said Tsonga. "I think we played a great match and had many opportunities, but he played well. I tried to play my best tennis today. Of course, I am trying to qualify for London, I am not there yet and I need to earn more points."

Berdych is No. 6 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings Race To London and Tsonga is at No. 8. Only three singles berths remain up for grabs at the season-ending championship, to be held at The O2 in London, from 5-12 November. Juan Martin del Potro, the No. 7-ranked player, won the Erste Bank Open title in Vienna earlier today.

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© Hiroshi Sato

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