DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS 2013
Berdych Saves 3 M.P. To Beat Federer For Dubai Final Spot
by James Buddell|
Berdych recorded his fifth win in his past eight meetings over Federer with a 3-6, 7-6(8), 6-4 victory in front of 5,000 tennis fans at the Dubai Tennis Stadium. The match lasted two hours and 20 minutes.
"I couldn't be feeling any better,” said Berdych. “I would say [it was] almost in front of his home crowd and to be the one who won that match, it really feels great. I'm very pleased the way I played today.”
“In every single point, I was believing in myself, trying to be just focused on that single point. I didn’t want to see the score and just go one by one. It worked. It's the kind of tactic that I will try to stick with and try to bring it for every single match.”
Berdych will next look to improve a 1-12 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against World No. 1 and three-time former Dubai titlist Novak Djokovic in Saturday’s title match.
Watch highlights from both semi-finals
Berdych came under pressure at 3-4 in the first set, dropping to 0/30, and went onto lose his serve after two deep forehands from Federer got the Czech off balance. Federer closed out the 38-minute set with a service hold to love.
In the second set, Federer was broken at 2-3, 15/40, when he snatched at a forehand, hitting the ball into the net. Berdych confirmed the break to love for a 5-2 lead.
Berdych, who has strengthened his core during the off-season and is a better mover around the court, served for the set a 5-3 but two forehand errors helped Federer get back into the pair’s 16th meeting.
Federer was able to convert three break point opportunities at 5-5 and was later forced to save one set point at 5-6, 30/40 en route to the second set tie-break.
The Swiss opened up a 6-4 lead, courtesy of Berdych errors, but some clever service placement got the Czech another set point at 7-6 in the tie-break. Federer’s third match point chance came and went at 8-7, before Berdych converted his third set point opportunity with a forehand return winner off a second serve.
Berdych broke Federer to 30 at 2-2 in the deciding set to silence the majority of the supporters. Under enormous pressure, Federer played aggressively in the seventh game and saved three break points.
Berdych recovered from 0/30 at 4-3 and then squandered his first match point opportunity in the next game with a forehand into the net. Federer saved a second match point with a powerful first serve.
Minutes later, when serving, Berdych closed out his 14th match win of 2013 to reach his second ATP World Tour final in as many weeks. Six days ago, he finished runner-up to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Open 13 final at Marseille.
“Obviously I leave this match with a lot of regrets," said Federer. "I'm feeling... serving for the match, with the serve, having chances in the beginning of the second, when he wasn't quite in the match yet, to go break up, [a] set and a break. [There were] a few points where things just didn't happen for me.
“He's got obviously a big game, has a big serve which makes him difficult to play maybe on a quick court than a slower court. Maybe you can move him around a bit more, but at the same time he has more time to set up the shot, whereas the way the game has gone he has adapted really well to those conditions.”
For the first time in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships 21-year history the top four seeds featured in the semi-finals.