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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Berdych crushes Russian seed

Photo Titled Tomas Berdych
Tomas Berdych

Czech Tomas Berdych finally broke his hoodoo against Nikolay Davydenko, taking just 107 minutes to crush the Russian No.12 seed for the first time in nine meetings.

Of course, this was the perfect place for Berdych to reverse those fortunes. As a reliable performer at Wimbledon in recent years - he was a quarter-finalist in 2007 - he would have been confident that he could find the tactics to send the Russian packing in Wimbledon's first week for the seventh time in eight years.

And so he did, with an impressive all-court game which had the Russian rattled. Of course, Davydenko’s error-strewn and lethargic display also had a lot to do with it.

Berdych, the 20th seed, looked impressive from the outset and secured an early break to lead 3-1 after a baseline exchange ended with a forehand winner down the line. While cruising on his own serve, he was also asserting his dominance on his opponent and picked off returns at ease.

The towering Czech player also showed a volleying competence which could be a force in the second week of The Championships.

A cute angled backhand shot which he dug out from his feet brought up set point. Berdych duly took it after another thundering return at the feet of Davydenko forced another wild forehand.

By now the difference between the two players' performances, and apparently their mindsets, was obvious. Berdych was excitedly waving his clenched fists at his faithful followers, while Davydenko looked like he wanted to be anywhere other than No.1 Court.

Berdych was now beginning to stroll it and took an easy break early in the second set to lead 3-1.

Davydenko was briefly stunned him into life following a confrontation with the referee which enabled him to close the gap to 3-2 after gaining his one and only break of the Berdych serve.

However Berdych immediately regained the advantage when he capitalised on another dismal service game by the Russian. With the score standing at 5-3, Berdych then saved two break-points before sealing the second set with an ace.

The third set followed a similar and uneventful pattern, with Berdych sealing breaks in the first and seventh games before serving out the set to love.

Berdych admits the surface was a factor in helping him end Davydenko's winning streak.

He said: "I think the grass suits me more than him, and it's better for my game. He was the favorite because he won all the matches before and he's higher in the rankings. But I think this was one of my best matches so far this year, and especially that the opponent was Nikolay Davydenko."

And the Czech player says he's already looking forward to meeting Andy Roddick in the 4th round on Monday.

Berdych added: “I can’t wait till next week. This was by my best match and performance this year. I played very well and believe I’m getting better and better with each match.”

Court 1 - Gentlemen's Singles - 3rd Round
Nikolay Davydenko RUS (12)232
Tomas Berdych CZE (20)Winner666

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