Tag Archive | "Berdych"

Berdych and Roddick Lead a Stupendous Field at Legg Mason Classic

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Berdych and Roddick Lead a Stupendous Field at Legg Mason Classic


The Olympus U.S. Open series is on its D.C. stop this week.  Although Juan Martin Del Potro, the reigning U.S. Open and two time defending Legg Mason Classic champion, is sidelined by injury this year, numerous big names have made the trip to the nation’s capital to contest this coveted trophy.

This year’s superstar lineup is topped by Tomas Berdych, the new world number eight and 2010 Wimbledon finalist.  Berdych is making his third appearance in Washington, but his first as the number one seed.  The Czech will be aiming to improving on his semifinal result from 2005.

On the opposite side of the draw is perennial favorite Andy Roddick, the second seed.  Roddick, a three time champion and finalist in 2009, is hoping to rebound from a curtailed Wimbledon campaign.  Being on grounds which brought him tremendous success previously could be the remedy for the American’s blues.

Fernando Verdasco, the world number 10 and 2009 Australian Open semifinalist, is the third seed.  It’s Verdasco’s  maiden showing at the tournament.  With three titles already this year, Verdasco will be a certain threat.  Returning for the second straight year is Marin Cilic who is positioned as the fourth seed and a potential semifinal rival for Roddick.

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Nadal Shuts Out Berdych for a Second Wimbledon Prize

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Nadal Shuts Out Berdych for a Second Wimbledon Prize


The list of competitors who have successfully prevailed their initial outing in the finals at a major is brief.  Today, Tomas Berdych was hoping to add his name to that distinguished roll of honor.  To do so, the Czech would have to overcome his biggest hurdle these two weeks, 2008 Wimbledon champion and world number one, Rafael Nadal.  Nadal dispatched newcomer Berdych 6-3,7-5,6-4 to capture his second back to back French Open and Wimbledon trophies.  With a total of eight majors, Nadal moves up to fifth in the record books besides Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Andre Agassi.

Berdych’s track to the finals was dramatic.  In the quarterfinals, the Czech defeated six time champion Roger Federer.  Moreover, Berdych halted Federer’s seven straight Wimbledon final streak.  Subsequently, in the semifinals, Berdych ousted Novak Djokovic, the world number 3, and became the first player from his nation since Lendl in 1987 to reach the finals at the All England Club.

With injury barring him from the defense of his title last year, Nadal had his knees come into the picture the earlier rounds.  But, in the quarterfinals and semifinals against Robin Soderling and Andy Murray respectively, Nadal had no issues.  Thus, the Spaniard appeared fit to battle.  Although Berdych and Nadal are the same age, their careers have had divergent paths.  Nadal holds 40 titles and has a 8-2 mark in finals of majors.  On the other hand,  Berdych’s overall record in finals is 5-5.

Berdych coolly carried the opening game at love while Nadal duplicated with four easy points.  Later in the first set, with a forehand crosscourt winner, Berdych held at 15 to stay in front 3-2.  However, after mildly pushing Nadal on serve, Berdych committed two quick unforced errors.  Then, with a forehand up the winner, Nadal arrived at triple break point.  With Berdych unable to locate a first serve the entire game, Nadal punished another second serve with a backhand crosscourt shot leading to another miscue by Berdych and the break.  Previously, Berdych had surrendered only two points on his serve.  Promptly with a forehand crosscourt winner, Nadal consolidated at love for 5-3.  After Berdych misfired on another forehand resulting in double break point, Nadal teed off on an abysmal second serve to get the error and claim the first set.

Still, in the second set, Berdych had his chances.  With two double faults and Nadal’s forehand floundering, Berdych had three opportunities to break in the first game.  With Berdych failing to capitalize on second serves, Nadal maintained serve.  Despite being denied, Berdych held with a love game.  Although Nadal committed a few uncharacteristic mistakes, he never allowed Berdych back in.  With Nadal ahead 4-3, at 40-30, Berdych connected on a backhand volley winner to level the set.  After readily keeping pace with comfortable games, Berdych produced a rash of errors as he served to send the set to a tiebreaker.  As a result, Nadal had triple break point.  In a mirror image of the first set, with a forehand error by Berdych, Nadal broke to take a two set advantage.

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Week One at Wimbledon: Federer and Nadal with a pulse, barely! Murray and Soderling Looking Strong

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Week One at Wimbledon: Federer and Nadal with a pulse, barely! Murray and Soderling Looking Strong


As customary, the middle Sunday at Wimbledon serves as a no play holiday which is a welcomed respite.  No words can fully underscore the uniqueness of the events that transpire this week.  From a seemingly never ending first round match, to the champions of the last two years limping their way into the last 16, to the Queen making a rare appearance, to a scandal involving Victor Hanescu.  Here’s a homage to the initial six days and a take on what’s ahead.

The French are known for their flare and Nicolas Mahut is undoubtedly part of the establishment.  In the second round of qualifying, Mahut outlasted his opponent 24-22 in the third set to advance.  Then, Mahut went five sets to make it into the main draw. In the first round of the main draw, Mahut faced John Isner. On Tuesday, the match was interrupted due to darkness after the two split four sets.  When the players returned on Wednesday, the night ended with a 59-59 draw in the fifth. Even the scoreboard was exhausted, crashing when the score got to 40+.  On Thursday, the match concluded when Isner hit two consecutive winners to break Mahut and grab a 70-68 victory.

The encounter which lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes, shattered all previous records and redefined the meaning of marathon match. The fifth set alone spanned 8 hours and 11 minutes.  However, despite a full day’s rest, Isner could not recuperate.  The next round, Thiemo De Bakker, who won his prior round 16-14, dismissed a depleted Isner in just 1hour 14 minutes.  For Isner, the physical consequences may reverberate for months.

While defending champion Roger Federer did not go to such extremes, it was a struggle to survive nevertheless.  Federer was nearly a spectator as 60th ranked Alejandro Falla forced Federer to climb out of a two sets to love deficit, even serving for the match.  With a bit of “luck” as Federer put it, he moved on.  The Swiss’ second round was also tough as qualifier Ilijac Bozoljac prevailed in the second set tiebreaker. Federer carried the match by capturing the fourth set tiebreaker.  The third round, Federer played close to flawlessly against Arnaud Clement.

Rafael Nadal also willed himself to advance.  After a routine initial round, Nadal required five sets the second and third round against Robin Haase and Philipp Petzschener respectively.  More importantly, Nadal had a flare up of his niggling knee problem and was treated for elbow issue.

Following a five setter with Oliver Rochus, Novak Djokovic thumped his next opponents Taylor Dent and Albert Montanes in the subsequent rounds.  British hopeful Andy Murray has been efficient, booting his counterparts in straight sets.  Even the Queen’s first appearance at Wimbledon since 1977 did not distract her subject as Murray dispatched Jarkko Nieminen in the second round.

After an uncomplicated primary round, Andy Roddick was rattled a bit by Michael Llodra and Philipp Kohlschreiber the next rounds, pushed to four sets by each.  Roddick has friendly company into the second week as Sam Querrey secured a fourth round berth after a five set tussle with Xavier Malisse.

Unsurprisingly, his second tournament back from injury, Nikolay Davydenko fell in the second round.  Shocking though was Fernando Verdasco, the 8th seed, Marin Cilic, the 11th seed, Marcos Baghdatis, the 24th seed, and Stanislas Wawrinka, the 20th seed, all exiting their first day out.

Robin Soderling, the 6th seed, has been on cue this week.  The Swede has sailed through his matches, duration under two hours.  His first event since his back injury, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s performance has been mixed.  In the second round, Tsonga went five sets after having a two sets to none lead against Alexandr Dolgopolov.  Yet, the following round, Tsonga cruised against qualifier Tobias Kamke.

This tournament has seen a revival of the French veterans.  Paul-Henri Mathieu knocked out 13th seed Mikhail Youzhny and De Bakker in the second and third round respectively to earn a spot in the final 16 at a major for the first time since 2008.  Also, Julien Benneteau is into the second week after surviving two five set matches.

Conversely, Gael Monfils had his fortnight cut short by Lleyton Hewitt in the third round.  Monfils was no match for Hewitt who recently beat Federer in Halle. The Aussie is grooving on grass despite two hip surgeries.

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Wimbledon Draw Presents a Challenge for Both Nadal and Federer

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Wimbledon Draw Presents a Challenge for Both Nadal and Federer


As the defending Wimbledon champion, Roger Federer has been given the top seed despite relinquishing the number one ranking to Rafael Nadal earlier this month.  Federer will attempt to capture his seventh crown to equalize Pete Sampras’ record at the All England Club. After injury prevented him from defending his 2008 title, a salubrious Nadal is seeking his second back to back French Open and Wimbledon trophies.  However, each man’s section is filled with rivals capable of tripping him prior to the finals.  Here’s a look at the draw.

After his historic string of consecutive semifinals was broken at the French Open, Federer had his tight grip on the title in Halle loosen by Lleyton Hewitt. Since prevailing in Australia, Federer has fallen to multiple adversaries whom he has owned and has yet to claim another title.  In light of Federer’s vulnerability, it’s perhaps Andy Roddick’s opportunity to avenge his three previous Wimbledon final defeats by knocking Federer out in the semifinals.  Beforehand though, Federer could have stiff competition in the round of 16 from French Open semifinalist Jurgen Melzer and in the quarterfinals from either Thomas Berdych or Nikolay Davydenko.  But, with the latter just rejoining the tour after nursing an injury for several months, he may be less of a factor.

Roddick may have some trouble of his own to contend with.  The American could see Marin Cilic or Phillip Kohlschreiber in the round of 16.  Kohlschreiber, the 29th seed, has taken down a few big names in his career which makes him dangerous.  In the quarterfinals, Roddick is projected to meet Novak Djokovic.  Djokovic has a tricky first round match against Oliver Rochus to whom he loss in Miami.  In addition, Djokovic has a potential fourth round encounter with Hewitt.  Djokovic’s game has been suffering of late which means that Hewitt has a good shot at reaching the quarterfinals in which case Roddick would be the outright favorite.

In the bottom half of the draw, Nadal could battle big server John Isner in the fourth round.  Isner has a game which translates well to grass and could bother the Spaniard. Then, the world number one has a possible clash with French Open finalist Robin Soderling in the quarterfinals.  Considering their contentious five set, two day third round encounter in 2007 and with the evolution of Soderling’s game if these two collide, it will be an intriguing match.

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Federer and Nadal on Track for Showdown in the Finals

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Federer and Nadal on Track for Showdown in the Finals


The first week of play has come to a conclusion at the French Open.  While Andy Murray, the fourth seed, going out in the fourth round to Tomas Berdych was a shock.  The biggest eye popper was David Ferrer, the ninth seed, a definite threat to Rafael Nadal in the bottom half, being ousted in the third round in three sets by Jurgen Melzer.  With both Roger Federer and Nadal methodically working through their sections, the possibility of a final between these two is very much alive.

Despite stumbling at times, Federer, the defending champion, has pulled through all four matches in straight sets.  Robyn Soderling, the 2009 finalist, has played steady ball.  Soderling had no difficulty with Albert Montanes in the third round nor Marin Cilic in the fourth round.  Now, Soderling faces Federer in the quarterfinals and will get the opportunity to seek revenge for last year’s defeat.  Although Federer has an ATP 12-0 record against him, Soderling prevailed in an exhibition in Abu Dhabi this January.  Therefore, Soderling will not be intimidated.

The French will have to wait for their homegrown champion yet another year.  In the first round, Richard Gasquet went down to Murray in a thrilling five setter. Then, in the second round, Gael Monfils was sent packing in a marathon two day drama.  Lastly, in the fourth round, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was compelled to retire against Mikhail Youzhny due to a back injury.  Youzhny battles Berdych as the other quarterfinalist in the top half of the draw.

In the bottom half, after outlasting Mardy Fish in a five set brawl, Ivan Ljubicic could not withstand another assault from 22 year old Thomaz Bellucci.  Yet, in reaching the fourth round for the first time at a major, Bellucci’s prize is Nadal.

At the start of the tournament, Americans with authentic possibilities were likely Andy Roddick, John Isner and Sam Querrey.  The greatest hope was for Isner and Querrey, the latter had prevailed over the former in the finals in Serbia.  With no prior clay court competition, for Roddick, it was going to be an uphill battle to make it deep into the draw.  In the third round, Roddick was outplayed by qualifier Teimuraz Gabashvili and went out in straight sets.  Similarly, in the third round, Berdych expedited Isner.  Still, there is a Stars and Stripes bearer into the second week, he is Bobby Ginepri ranked 98th.  After beating Querrey in the first round, Ginepri outfoxed former champion Juan Carlos Ferrero in the third round.  In the fourth round, Ginepri battles Novak Djokovic.  Djokovic has not been performing at his peak, needing four sets in the first round against Evgeny Korolev, had a tough second round match versus Kei Nishikori and another four setter against Victor Hanescu.  If that pattern continues, Ginepri has a good shot at an upset.

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Preview of the Men’s French Open Draw 2010

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Preview of the Men’s French Open Draw 2010


On Sunday, the 2010 French Open gets underway.  Before the first ball is struck at Roland Garros, here’s a taste of how the proceedings may unravel on the gentlemen’s side.

Since 2006, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer had made it a habit of contesting for the trophy on the final Sunday. Last year, Robin Soderling interrupted that cycle by ousting Nadal in the fourth round.  After descending a wee bit in the rankings, with a record three Masters clay court titles, Nadal returned to his familiar spot at number two this week.  Therefore, this sets up the possibility of a final featuring defending champion Federer and his old nemesis Nadal.

By far, Nadal has been the best clay court player this season.  As such, it’s almost a given penciling his name as a finalist.  In examining the draw, Nadal, the top seed in the bottom section, appears to have a green line through the round of 16.  In the quarterfinals, the Spaniard could see slight resistance from fellow countrymen Fernando Versdasco and Nicolas Almagro.  The latter in particular competed well against Nadal in Madrid.  Still, Nadal should pull through.

Also in the bottom half are Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic, potential semifinal adversaries for Nadal.  Last year, Roddick had a career best showing in Paris by reaching the round of 16.  In the first round, Roddick takes on veteran Jarkko Nieminen, then, a possible third round match with Juan Monaco.  Hence, the American may say his goodbyes to Paris early. Assuming Roddick advances to the quarters, he could face the second best performer on clay this year, David Ferrer.  Considering that Roddick has not competed since the Sony Ericsson Open and with clay being his least successful surface, it hard to imagine Roddick progressing to the second week.

Despite a clay title and two other finals, Djokovic went down in the third round in 2009.  This year, Djokovic withdrew early in Serbia and his best result was the semifinals in Monte-Carlo. Consequently, for Djokovic, resting may be a blessing.  On the other hand, it could be a curse, not allowing the Serb to be clay fit.  With former French Open winner Juan Carlos Ferrero potentially as a third round opponent and Ferrer in the quarterfinals, the third seed could have his hands full before getting a crack at Nadal.

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Roddick Brushes Berdych Aside For Title In Miami

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Roddick Brushes Berdych Aside For Title In Miami


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.

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Last Act of 2010 Sony Ericsson Open Today: Roddick and Berdych in Men’s Final

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Last Act of 2010 Sony Ericsson Open Today: Roddick and Berdych in Men’s Final


The recipient of the Sony Ericsson Open men’s trophy will be decided this afternoon as Andy Roddick and Tomas Berdych clash in the finals.  That will be followed by the WTA doubles final.

The winner in Brisbane, this is Roddick’s fourth final of the year.  However, in his first ATP 1000 Masters’  final in Indian Wells, Roddick was disappointed by Ivan Ljubicic.  The victor in Miami in 2004, Roddick will attempt to capture his second championship in South Florida.  If Roddick succeeds, it will be his first Masters’  title since 2006 in Cincinnati and the 29th of his career.

After prevailing over Roger Federer, Fernando Verdasco and Robin Soderling to advance to the finals, Berdych tries to put the cherry on this spectacular run with his first title of the year.  Moreover, Berdych is in his first ATP Masters 1000  final since 2005 in Paris where he was triumphant.  In contrast to Roddick, not only is this Berdych’s first final of the year,  he is trying to collect  his 6th career title.  The Czech is 2-5 lifetime versus Roddick and has already lost twice to him in 2010.  While Berdych has a record of  5-4 in finals, Roddick is 28-19.  With the prior wins and the vast differential in experience, Roddick is the clear favorite.

The tournament ends with the women’s doubles with the new team of Samantha Stosur and Nadia Petrova, seeded 3rd, taking on the duo of Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta.  For Stosur and Petrova, this is their second consecutive final, they were defeated two weeks ago in Indian Wells.  In 2006-07, Stosur won the championship with Lisa Raymond and in 2004 Petrova carried it with partner Megan Shaughnessy.  Petrova and Stosur have a combined 40 doubles titles. For Dulko and Pennetta, this is their initial final at the Sony Ericsson Open.  In addition, that tandem possesses a total of 15 trophies.  Again, because of their wealth of experience,  the 3rd seed have a distinct advantage.

Here is the order of play :

STADIUM start 1:00 PM
[16] T Berdych (CZE) vs [6] A Roddick (USA) – ATP SINGLES FINAL
[3] N Petrova (RUS) / S Stosur (AUS) vs G Dulko (ARG) / F Pennetta (ITA) – WTA DOUBLES FINAL

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Berdych Bludgeons Soderling for Berth in Sony Ericsson Open Final

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Berdych Bludgeons Soderling for Berth in Sony Ericsson Open Final


In the second male semifinal at the Sony Ericsson Open, the majority of the highlight reel was filled by Tomas Berdych.  Berdych, the 16th seed, squashed Robin Soderling, the 5th seed, 6-2, 6-2 to move on to the finals where his ultimate challenge will be Andy Roddick.

When Berdych sent a forehand wide following a great return in the initial game of the match, Soderling had break point. However, with a series of booming serves including an ace on game point, Berdych held.  Similarly, Soderling had a comfortable game his first time out.  But, on his second trip, Soderling was pushed to deuce.  Nevertheless, with a forehand winner, Soderling pocketed the game for 2 all. Yet down at 2-3, Soderling made two errors; then, with a forehand up the line winner, Berdych gave himself triple break point.  When Soderling dumped a backhand into the net, Berdych moved ahead 4-2.  After easily consolidating, Berdych broke Soderling at love for the second successive occasion to terminate the set.

Up to this juncture, Soderling had two primary problems, a low first serve percentage and too many errors, particularly with his main weapon, the forehand.  Yet, despite being blown off the court the first set, Soderling’s body language was positive.  In the first game of the second set, when Berdych committed an error serving at 30-0, Soderling pumped his fist.  That attitude at least helped Soderling out of a tight spot in the second game.  As a result of a double fault, Soderling stared at double break point.  Although with difficulty, Soderling carried the game for 1 all.  Then for the first time in the match, by forcing a couple of mistakes on Berdych’s serve, Soderling had 0-30.  Still, with Soderling incapable of finding a decent return rhythm, Berdych inched in front 2-1.  The next game, when Soderling’s forehand up the line missed its mark, Berdych had break point. Luckily, Soderling came up with the answers, erasing a total of two break points to equalize things at 2 all.  However, serving at 2-3, Soderling’s forehand up the line miscue resulted in a break point for Berdych.  Unable to find the range with another forehand, Soderling handed Berdych a 4-2 advantage.  After Berdych consolidated quickly for 5-2, he pressured Soderling into a caravan of errors to arrive at match point.  Then, with a return winner, Berdych ended the match and claimed the remaining final spot.

After his tremendous victory, MiamiTennisNews.com wanted to know how Berdych was able impose his will on the match:

Q.  The last two times you met Robin, one was in Sunrise in a challenger series here, and [the other in] Kuala Lumpur.  He pretty much beat you handily.  How did you change your game plan or tactics today?
BERDYCH:  Yeah, I mean, it was I would say pretty simple.  Both of those matches he was playing really aggressive[ly] and I was just . . . waiting for some mistakes or something and giv[ing] him too much time to just do on the court whatever he want[ed].  So, this time I just need[ed] to play more aggressive. . .  Step a little bit more into the court, try to play faster and a little longer shots against him, and just not give him too much time.  Then all the errors can come.  That’s what happened today.  I was serving pretty [well] today.  But, I would say really [the] key point was in the first game when I was break point down. . . Maybe if . . .  he took [that game] and start[ed] really strong, the match could be different.  It wasn’t, so I’m happy for that.

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Roddick Bumps Off Nadal in 2010 Sony Ericsson Open Semifinal

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Roddick Bumps Off Nadal in 2010 Sony Ericsson Open Semifinal


In their semifinal encounter at the Sony Ericsson Open, Andy Roddick defeated Rafael Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to reach his second straight final this year at an ATP 1000 Masters event.

Following a game where Roddick allowed Nadal to touch the ball only once, his next time up, the American dropped serve.  Although Nadal had to salvage break point, he consolidated and got his nose in front 3-1. The balance of the set, Roddick put on a service clinic.  However, the single break was sufficient for Nadal to grab the first set.

In the second set, Roddick upped the ante by being more aggressive.  Although Roddick failed to capitalize on his second break point, with Nadal serving at 3-4, Roddick baited him into two miscues. In addition, with a forehand up the line winner, Roddick obtained triple break point.  Then by sticking a crosscourt forehand winner, Roddick gained the break for 5-3.  Next, with a love game, Roddick held to send the match to a third set.

In the decisive set, after Nadal guarded serve at love, he forced an error from Roddick to procure break point.  But, with a big serve, Roddick provoked a backhand return error for deuce.  Later on, with two huge volley winners, Roddick equalized the set at 1 all.  Soon, by zeroing in on a volley by Nadal, Roddick made a sensational lob.  Despite Nadal tracking that shot down, his only option, the tweener traveled long resulting in double break point.  When Nadal netted a forehand, Roddick went up a break 2-1.  Whilst Nadal did his utmost to make a push on Roddick’s service games, he was unable to find the key.  Serving at 3-5, Nadal sliced a backhand volley into the net, handing Roddick match point. With the Spaniard’s forehand landing wide, Roddick placed a period on the match.

Afterwards, MiamiTennisNews.com asked Nadal this question:

Q.  What do you think made the difference out there in today’s match?

NADAL:  Well, I think I started the match playing pretty well in the beginning.  Later, I had the match well under control in the first set with my serve. . . in the second set Andy was serving well . . . I didn’t have a lot of chances on the return.  He play[s] very aggressive game and started to play more aggressive[ly] in the game where he did . . . break.  It was a change and it was [a] surprise for me.  After that, in the third, you know, he put more pressure on my serve, attacking more.  He was serving very regular, pretty well the third, second.  Just congratulate him.  He’s playing really well.

Despite the disappointing result today, Nadal is pleased with his performance the last couple of weeks. The Spaniard hopes that success in terms of the titles is around the corner.

After coming up short at Indian Wells, for the second tournament in a row, Roddick attempts to collect his fifth career Masters’ shield.  Roddick’s last one was in Cincinnati in 2006.  This is the American’s second time in the finals in Miami.  In 2004, he beat Guillermo Coria in the title bout.  On Sunday, Roddick will meet either Robin Soderling or Tomas Berdych.  These two have their semifinal encounter tonight.

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