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Berdych Beats Tsonga To Send SF Qualification Down To Wire

London, England

Berdych© Getty Images

Fifth seed Tomas Berdych ensured Group A will be decided on Friday after he beat seventh seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 in one hour and 52 minutes during Wednesday’s night session at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. The match was watched by 17,587 spectators at The O2.

It was Berdych’s first win in four matches on British soil this year. The 27-year-old Czech, a qualifier at the season-ending championships for the third straight year, will play top seed and 2008 titlist Novak Djokovic on Friday. Tsonga will play third seed Andy Murray.

“I don't like mathematics at all. I will try to play tennis, and that's it. I will try my best. But Novak just [has] shown how great he's playing right now and that he deserve to be [the] No. 1 player in the world. It's a huge challenge for me. But the other hand, he already has two wins, so let's see what's going to be in that last match.”

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Berdych, who has won eight ATP World Tour titles during his career, recorded his 60th match win of the season (60-21) against Tsonga and improved to 7-12 against Top 10 opponents in 2012. He hit 33 winners and eight aces, winning 16 of hi 24 points at the net. Tsonga committed 31 unforced errors and drops to 0-2 in Group A, having lost to Djokovic two days ago.  

TsongaChances were few and far between in the opening exchanges, until the 11th game, when Tsonga struck two lose forehands wide to gift Berdych the game to 30 on his fourth break point opportunity of the set. Berdych wraped up the set with an ace, holding to 15. Aggressive and potent on serve, losing just seven points, the Czech hit 12 winners and won seven of his 11 net approaches.

Tsonga became the aggressor in the second set, breaking Berdych for a 3-1 lead when the Czech hit a forehand long. He grew in confidence, but at 5-3, when serving for the set, Tsonga fell to love 30 and saved one break point was a second serve ace down the middle, before rounding out the 34-minute set with yet another ace. As Berdych had done in the first set, Tsonga wisely picked his time to come to the net and shorten the lengthy baseline rallies.

Berdych saved two break points in the first game of the decider, then turned up the power level to win five straight games as Tsonga started to fatigue. When asked about saving two break points at the start of the third set, Berdych admitted, “That was the [key] moment I would say of the match. Jo had some chances the beginning of the third set. I was able to hold. Then once I get my first chance in the third set, I took it. That was the difference between us today.”

Tsonga won just 11 points in the 30-minute set and drops to 55-24 on the year. He also won 55 matches in 2011. Tsonga has lost 11 matches against Top 8 players this season.

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