Berdych Topples Del Potro To Reach Fourth Round
The two-time semi-finalist hit 20 aces in the two-hour, 16-minute encounter and broke the Argentine on seven occasions to take sole ownership of the record for the most Open Era fourth round appearances at the Australian Open by a Czech man.
After trading breaks early in the first set, Berdych made the crucial breakthrough in the sixth game to lead 4-2. The Czech No.1 hit double the number of winners of his rival in the opening set (16-8) and dropped just five points on his first serve in the set to earn the lead against Del Potro, who entered the match with a 5-3 advantage in the pair's FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
Berdych broke for the third time in the opening game of the second set before holding for a 2-0 lead, putting Del Potro into a deeper hole. Two opportunities for the Argentine to break back and level the score at 2-2 came and went, before the Czech once again pounced on his opponent’s serve at 5-3, breaking to love to seal a two-set lead.
There would be no comeback heroics similar to Del Potro’s come-from-behind victory over Dominic Thiem at the US Open last year; Berdych was ruthless in the third set as he raced out to a 5-0 lead, earning two match points. Del Potro, with defeat just a point away, mustered up one final effort saving both match points and breaking Berdych to serve at 2-5, but yet again his serve would be his downfall as he was broken for a seventh and final time with Berdych wrapping up the win and ending the World No. 10’s first appearance at the Australian Open since 2014.