Until the match is played, regardless of the statistics, there is no certainty as to the victor. However, in this case, the numbers did not lie. Today, in the Sony Ericsson Open final, Andy Roddick, the favorite on paper, improved his record to 6-2 versus Tomas Berdych. Roddick defeated Berdych 7-5, 6-4 for his second ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami and his 29th career trophy.
Twice this season, these two have battled with Roddick taking both matches in straight sets. Yet, the manner in which Berdych moved on to the finals, with wins over Roger Federer, Fernando Verdasco and Robin Soderling, the Czech appeared to have at least an outside chance. With a forehand crosscourt winner, Berdych held at love his initial game. Then, with a backhand volley winner, Berdych put Roddick in 0-30 predicament. By coming with 130 mph heat, Roddick managed to hold for 1 all. Later, Roddick faced another 0-30 situation when Berdych connected on a backhand crosscourt pass for a winner. Despite not finding first serves, Roddick elicited enough return errors on his second serve to get to 3 all. Next, as the set progressed, Roddick found the groove on Berdych’s serve. When Berdych botched a makeable forehand up the line, Roddick had his first break point of the day. Although Berdych wiped that one away, later, he double faulted giving Roddick another opportunity. The American took it when Berdych’s forehand landed wide. Subsequently, at 40-0, with an ace, Roddick wrapped up the set.
In the second set, with a backhand pass for winner, Roddick earned break point. Again with an unforced forehand error, Roddick seized a 1-0 edge. Despite letting a 40-15 game reach deuce because of double fault, Roddick still consolidated 2-0. Following two easy occasions on serve, when Roddick missed an uncomplicated forehand to get to 30 all, Berdych seemed to have a slim opening. Yet, with a backhand down the line pass, Roddick arrived at game point and with an ace had a 4-2 lead. After Roddick readily got to 5-3, with a deep return, he caused a forehand blunder from Berdych for his first match point. In the longest rally of the day, 31 strokes, Berdych terminated the point with an overhead winner. Later, Berdych saved another match point and finally held for 4-5. However, for the Czech it was delaying the inevitable. Roddick had permitted no break point the entire day and he had no plan to be generous although it was Easter. With an overhead winner, Roddick had double championship point. When Berdych netted a down the line backhand, Roddick wrote his name on the trophy.
Roddick performance was pretty clean with 25 winners and 16 unforced errors, while Berdych had almost twice as many in the latter category and just 2 more winners. Berdych was the first Czech male to reach the finals in Miami since Ivan Lendl. Lendl won the tournament twice, in 1986 and 1989. In the post match analysis, Berdych had the following responses when MiamiTennisNews.com posed:
Q. Seemed [that] your first serve was off?
BERDYCH: . . . my serve was not that good. But still, . . . I just lost two close sets. . . He [got] one chance and he just took it. That’s how it is . . . maybe I would get one then it would be different.
Q. It seems . . .on the first break chance that he had in the first set, . . . you made an error on the first serve and then the clap from the crowd. Was that a distraction for you?
BERDYCH: No, that’s usual, especially here . . . when you play in States against American, that’s all right. That’s how it is.
Coming on the heels of a letdown in the finals in Indian Wells, Roddick admits prevailing a the Sony Ericsson Open is a relief considering he had been the favorite both times. Roddick spent his formative years in Boca Raton, therefore, this trophy is special to him. After the victory, Roddick said he has a lot of fond memories of the area “lots of firsts . . . playing the Orange Bowl, the Sunshine Cup, junior Davis Cup and winning that for the first time . . . [this venue]it’s one of those places where . . . going down a hallway . . . I don’t need to look for signs to see where I’m [going]. . . it [‘s] just kind of ingrained. It’s a great crowd. I never feel really uncomfortable on the center court. It’s a big title for me. ”
Berdych’s ranking rises from 20 to 16 while Roddick moves up one spot to number 7. Roddick earned his 5th Masters shield with this win. In addition, Roddick becomes only the fifth multiple winner of this title keeping company with Andre Agassi, holder of 6, Pete Sampras with 3, Ferderer and Lendl each with two. All in all not a bad consolation prize.