Djokovic Rolls Over Berdych in Australian Open Quarterfinals
By James Fish On January 22, 2013 @ 3:09 pm In Tennis | No Comments
Novak Djokovic needed four sets to eliminate big—and big-serving—Czech in quarterfinal play at the Australian Open tennis tournament. After a shaky start from both players, it was Berdych who first found his feet, but his strong-willed opponent revved up after dropping the second set and rolled through the rest of the match.
Novak Djokovic showed signs of early fatigue in his match against Number-six ranked Tomas Berdych Monday night—not surprising after the top-ranked Serb’s five-hour battle to defeat Stanislas Wawrinka Saturday.
Both players looked tense in the first set, missing easy shots; Berdych had his powerful serve (131 mph) but Djokovic had his fleet feet and powerful ground strokes to compensate. The 25-year-olsd Serb broke Berdych in the third and fifth game of the first set, and again in the final game of the match, which Berdych gave away with a double fault. The big Czech looked a little overwhelmed when the set ended.
The complexion of the match changed completely in the second set: Berdych broke Djokovic in the first game and again in the tenth game to win the set 6–4. Berdych was still missing first serves and hit a couple more double faults, as in the first set. It was Djokovic whose play slipped a little. The number-one seed seemedawkward, as if his joints weren’t quite working; his attitude also changed, as he started talking angrily to himself after every missed shot.
The Serbian champion didn’t make it easy—several games went to deuce several times, but Berdych still triumphed. However the 6’5” Czech didn’t have long to savor his ascendancy.
Djokovic composed himself after dropping the second set, and came out attacking. While Berdych was still serving up easy second serves and moving less well that his opponent, Djokovic seemingly warmed up enough to play his ususal game. He broke Berdych in his first service game, and breezed through the set 6–1.
The trend continued through the final set. Djokovic took advantage of his opponent’s size and weight, making him chase drop-shots and lobs and hitting behind him when he got moving. Berdych also had problems with accuracy, hitting 43 unforced errors to only 31 winners. Djokovic’s totals were 47 winners to 25 misses on the match.
Djokovic opened the fourth set by breaking Berdych again, and hit 16 winners including five aces on his way to a 6–4 win. Djokovic had a big edge not just in winners and errors; he converted half again as many second serves as his Czech opponent. Berdych only hit the court with 60 percent of his first serves, and hit eight double faults as well. Coupled with his weak and predictable second serve slower feet, Berdych had too much to overcome.Meanwhile Djokovic seemed to have used the first two sets as a warm-up. The lanky Serb hadn’t hit any balls on his day off, opting to use the time to recover. Instead, he used the beginning of the game as a practice session, and came out in prime condition in the third.
Djokovic will face fourth-ranked David Ferrer in the semis. Ferrer should be no trouble for Djokovic; it took the 30-year-old Spaniard five sets to defeat Nicolas Almagro, who should have won the set at least three times, but cracked mentally at the key moments. Djokovic won’t do the same.
The other quarterfinals matches have yet to be played. Andy Murray is matched against unseeded Jeremy Chardy of France and Roger Federer will face seventh-seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
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