Tag Archive | "Simon"

Ferrer Fends Off Haas to Get into Maiden Sony Open Final

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Ferrer Fends Off Haas to Get into Maiden Sony Open Final


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The first men’s semifinal at the Sony Open showcased a pair of thirtysomething. World number five David Ferrer outlasted a resurgent Tommy Haas 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach his fifth Masters 1000 series final.

At 35, Haas, a former world number two, discovered his fountain of youth. Ranked 18th, the German ousted 24 year old Alexandr Dolgopolov in the third round then stunned world number one Novak Djokovic in the round of 16. This year’s semifinal showing was the furthest Haas’ had advance in Miami.

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Haas Upsets Djokovic at Sony Open

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Haas Upsets Djokovic at Sony Open


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On a bizarre night that saw temperatures plummet in Miami, Tommy Haas pulled off the upset of the tournament by defeating two-time defending Sony Open champion Novak Djokovic in straight
sets 6-2, 6-4.

“Playing against something like Novak and coming out on top at this time of my career, it’s unbelievable.”, said Haas “You know, it goes up as one of my, you know, most best wins of my career.”

Djokovic was attempting to tie the record for consecutive wins in Miami, but a slew of unforced errors from the Serbian throughout the match proved to be his downfall. Djokovic credited Haas as the better player tonight and assessed his performance in his post match interview. “Yeah, I mean, all the credit to him. He played a great match and he was the better player, no question about it.” said Djokovic. “The results show everything, you know. As far as I’m concerned, it’s definitely the worst match I have played in a long time.”

When asked to access the unseasonal conditions in Miami Djokovic responded, “I mean, conditions were really much, much different from what I have played, you know, in previous matches. Balls didn’t bounce at all.
You know, he has a quite flat shots. He used the variety really well. Yeah, it was very cold, and I just didn’t find a better solution to come back to the match.”

Earlier in the day another Serbian was upset in Miami. The number 7 seed Janko Tipsarevic was bounced from the tournament by the number 11 seed Gilles Simon in three sets 5-7, 6-2, 6-2. Haas will face Simon in Wednesday’s night session for a place in the Sony Open semi-finals.

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Nadal Cements Berth in Fourth Round at Sony Ericsson Open

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Nadal Cements Berth in Fourth Round at Sony Ericsson Open



In a day session which progressed into the evening, Rafael Nadal prevailed over Radek Stepanek 6-2, 6-2 and improved his mark to 6-0 versus the Czech.

Despite the score, Stepanek was not a comfortable put away for Nadal using everything in his bag of tricks to disrupt the Spaniard. At one all in the first set, Stepanek forced Nadal to overcome break point in order to hold.

After failing to build on a 15-30 advantage on his rival’s serve, Stepanek was broken when Nadal connected on a forehand crosscourt pass for a winner. Next, Nadal consolidated for 5-2. Then, Nadal broke Stepanek a second time to bed the opening set.

Following a hold where he wiped out break point, Nadal converted to secure the break. In spite of Stepanek fighting, Nadal went on to stretch his lead to 3-0.
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Federer Gets a Pass into Sony Ericsson Open Semifinal

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Federer Gets a Pass into Sony Ericsson Open Semifinal



The tantalizing prospect of a Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal semifinal at the Sony Ericsson Open was given a leg up by Gilles Simon. This afternoon, the Frenchman retired down 0-3 giving Federer a virtual walkover into the next round.

Simon produced three successive errors to hand Federer triple break point in the opening game. Then, with a forehand winner, Federer took the game.

After Federer had no problem on his service game, at double break point, Simon dumped a volley into the net. Consequently, Federer had another break and a 3-0 lead.

During the change over, Simon consulted the trainer. Following a brief discussion, Simon shook hands with Federer conceding the match.

The Frenchman was forced to retire due to a stiff neck. Simon explained that “ in the morning’s warm-up, I felt it. It’s a pain I have sometimes. I had it in Rotterdam one month ago. I couldn’t play either. . . sometimes I just wake up like that and cannot turn my head very much. . . I tried everything, anti-inflammatory [medications], hot cream. . . After the second forehand I tried to hit very hard; I felt [pain] very hard also. I knew I had no chance today”.

Simon stated that it’s a problem which dates back at least six or seven years. In fact, the first time it presented itself on tour was at a tournament in Madrid. Simon withdrew from the qualifying rounds.

Simon cited that the issue was not a consequence of the grueling fourth round match against Janko Tipsarevic. He was disappointed particularly having battled a knee injury last year which caused him to miss part of the season.

Moreover, Simon had a 2-1 record versus Federer coming into today. In fact, Simon pushed Federer to a fifth set at this year’s Australian Open after being behind two sets to love.

Considering their previous encounters, when Federer was asked “nice way to into the semis”. Federer responded “No, no. It’s not a whole lot fun honestly because you see the guy being booed off the court which he clearly doesn’t deserve. . . I think we played only fifteen points, so it’s not great”.

Federer continued by saying “we’ve played some funny matches against each other. The five setter this year. . . The second time around in Shanghai I came off a back injury and I couldn’t really play properly as well. The first time in Toronto which was basically a normal match. . . I don’t know what to say. I’m just happy to be in the semis at this point”.

Nadal and Federer have not played on U.S. soil since the ATP Masters in Miami in 2005, the first of two titles for Federer at this venue. Thus, the two meeting in the semifinals would be special.

On the topic Federer stated “If I play Rafa, we have many memories from playing amazing matches against each other. It’s not even that unusual that we play each other in the semis because it happened at the World Tour finals back in Shanghai”.

Also Federer iterated “I’m happy that I’m already a step further [than last year]. . . I would love to play Rafa clearly. I think it would be electric out there tomorrow night”.

Tomas Berdych and Nadal clash tonight for the a place in the semifinals.

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Nadal Weathers Nishikori, Defending Champ Roddick Ousted

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Nadal Weathers Nishikori, Defending Champ Roddick Ousted



Despite being tested by Kei Nishikori, Rafael Nadal managed to close out his second round match at the Sony Ericsson Open in straight sets. Nadal overcame the talented Japanese 6-4, 6-4 to get to the third round where he will face fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

After Nishikori wasted a couple of break points which have given him a 3-1 lead, Nadal manufactured double break point. Nadal converted when Nishikori buried a backhand into the net. Nadal subsequently consolidated at love for 4-2.

Later on, Nishikori had double break points with Nadal serving at 4-3. Once more, this was to no avail. Nadal maintained the one break advantage to seal the first set.

In the second set, Nadal seized the break in the first game and guarded the advantage despite Nishikori’s formidable resistance. With triple match point, Nadal aced his rival to punctuate the set.

Nadal was particularly hampered by the serve in the final of BNP Paribas Open last week. Consequently, MiamiTennisNews.com inquired as to the changes he made to fix this problem “I tried to remember what I did when I served well. I slowed down the speed a little bit. . . Because I served 117 to 124, 25 miles almost every time. That’s enough speed if you put the right percentage inside and. . .the balls close to the lines. I think that worked well.”

Furthermore, Nadal said “Nishikori is a good returner. His returns are fast, deep and difficult. . . I have to improve a little bit on the second serve. The speed was [at times] 85, 88, 89, 90, 92. . . But in general, I am very happy with the match of tonight”.

Never one to take his opponent for granted. Despite a 6-2 mark versus Lopez, Nadal’s assessment of the upcoming match when asked by MiamiTennisNews.com was “[it’s] important for me to play my best tennis. . . He has a very good serve, volleys well and he’s an aggressive player. Very dangerous, but if I play very well, I have my chances”.

In addition, Nadal stated “I have to play aggressively with my forehand, try to move him and get to the net when I have the chance. The match will be similar [to the past ones in some ways]. Still, every match is [also] different and always difficult”.

Pablo Cuevas came into the tournament with a record under 500 at 6-7. With defending Andy Roddick across the net, Cuevas must have thought that his week at its end in the second round. To the contrary, Cuevas surprised Roddick 6-4, 7-6.

Cuevas caught a break in finding Roddick not at 100%. After Roddick erased a break point, he manufactured double break point the very next game. However, Cuevas found a way to turn him away.

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Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray Still In the Hunt at Australian Open

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Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray Still In the Hunt at Australian Open




Seven days of competition have passed at the Australian Open.  While Rafael Nadal has breezed through his matches to get to the round of 16, defending champion Roger Federer had a hiccup in the second round.  As usual, there were a few unexpected departures in the first week.  Here’s a summary of what has taken place this initial week.

It’s been smooth sailing for Nadal in getting through to the round of 16.  The world number one’s excellent form will come in handy as he faces 2010 semifinalist Marin Cilic.  After two easy matches, Cilic edged out John Isner 9-7 in the fifth to earn a crack at Nadal.

After a thrilling first round five setter against Lleyton Hewitt, David Nalbandian called it quit in the second round, four games away from being handed a straight set loss.  Mikhail Youzhny also departed earlier than expected.  The tenth seed was sent packing in the third round by Milos Raonic.  The 20 year old Canadian qualifier with the humongous serve also ousted Michael Llodra, the 22nd seed in the second round.  Next up for Raonic will be David Ferrer who is a relentless competitor.  Ferrer’s experience may prove too much for the youngster.  Thus, a Ferrer-Nadal quarterfinal showdown is the likely scenario.

Without much fuss, both Robyn Soderling and Andy Murray have been taking care of business.  Soderling’s fourth round match will be against Alexandr Dolgopolov.  The Ukrainian upset 13th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round.  Following an impressive second round match versus Juan Martin Del Potro, Marcos Baghdatis was forced to retire down two sets to one with a hand injury in his third round match against Jurgen Melzer.  As such, Murray will battle Melzer for a quarterfinal berth.

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Djokovic and Troicki Battle Back to Give Serbia its First Davis Cup Title

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Djokovic and Troicki Battle Back to Give Serbia its First Davis Cup Title


Coming into today’s rubbers with a 1-2 deficit, Serbia faced a monumental challenge in trying to win its first ever Davis Cup title.  Yet, with an inspired performance from Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki, disappointment would not be in the cards.  Backed by a raucous home crowd, the Serbs carried both singles matches against France to claim their initial Davis Cup title.

On Friday, Gael Monfils put France in the driver’s seat with a 6-1,7-6,6-0 victory over Janko Tipsarevic.  Subsequently though, Djokovic dispatched a pesky Gilles Simon 6-3,6-1,7-5 to square the ties at one all.

On Saturday, Nenad Zimonjic and Troicki blew a two set to love advantage as Michael Llodra and Arnaud Clement roared back to triumph 3-6,6-7,6-4,7-5,6-4.

With France ahead 2-1 and only three prior nations overcoming a doubles loss to take the Davis Cup, it was a near certainty that the Frenchmen would prevail.  France could almost taste its tenth title, its first time since 2001.

In the opening rubber this afternoon, Djokovic took on Monfils.  With his steady play, Djokovic quashed Monfils 6-2, 6-2,6-4 to push a decisive tie.

Picking style over substance, Monfils attempted an ill advised shot at 30-0 which proved unsuccessful.  A series of errors followed to give Djokovic his initial break and a 3-1 lead.  After a forehand up the line winner for break point, Monfils committed another mistake.  Eventually, Djokovic expanded his advantage to 4-1 and broke a second time to wrap up the first set.

Despite a better start to the second set, serving at 2-3, Monfils made three consecutive miscues to go down love-40.  When the Frenchman sent another backhand down the line long, Djokovic secured the break and consolidated for 5-2.  With great defense, Djokovic obtained triple break/ set point.  When Monfils’ slice forehand found the net, Djokovic pocketed the second set.

A Monfils double fault handed Djokovic a break point to commence the third set.  Next, a called double fault which would have given Serbia the break was overturned by a Monfils challenge.  Two more break points ensued, but, Monfils held serve for 1 all.  Then, the Frenchman turned the tables on Djokovic, breaking for a 2-1 edge.  France appeared revived.  However, unable to escape his nature, in selecting bad shots, Monfils saw his advantage go up in smokes.  Later though, Monfils provoked a forehand mistake from Djokovic to get double break point and by crushing a forehand winner up the line, Monfils converted for 4-3.  Still, Djokovic promptly redeemed himself to level the set.  After a comfortable game for 5-4, on a Monfils double fault, Djokovic arrived at double match point.  With Monfils netting a backhand, Djokovic gave the thousands in the arena what they had hoped for, a fifth rubber.

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Serving Notice:  Federer Wiggles By Fish for His Fourth Cincinnati Title

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Serving Notice: Federer Wiggles By Fish for His Fourth Cincinnati Title


Following his Australian Open victory in February, Roger Federer’s game had been in a tailspin.  In his best form since Melbourne, Federer made the final at the Rogers Cup last week, but went down to Andy Murray.  However, today, Federer edged out wildcard Mardy Fish 6-7,7-6,6-4 at the Western and Southern Financial Group Masters for his second straight Western and Southern Financial Group Masters title and  his 17th Masters’ shield.

This hardcourt season, Fish has positioned himself as a man to fear.  After a grass title in Newport, Fish claimed the initial trophy of the Olympus U.S. Open series in Atlanta.  In Cincinnati the first three rounds, Fish dismissed Gilles Simon, 9th seed Fernando Verdasco and Richard Gasquet in straight sets.  Subsequently, in the quarterfinals, Fish defeated Andy Murray for the third consecutive time.  Then, in the semifinals, Fish collected his second successive win over Andy Roddick by erasing a 4-6,2-5 deficit and improved his record to 16-1 since Wimbledon.  Thus, with these results, Fish’s confidence was astronomical.

Moreover, with Fish in the most outstanding physical shape of his career and an easy triumph over Federer in their last meeting at Indian Wells in 2008, the chances were excellent that in his fourth attempt, Fish would gain his first Masters’ shield.  Conversely, despite advancing to two other finals besides Toronto, Federer was denied in Madrid and Halle this year.  In his 90th career final, Federer was hungrier than ever to capture his 63rd career title and gain momentum heading into the U.S. Open.

Subsequent to a comfortable hold by each player, Fish got embroiled in a 15 minute plus game.  After surviving two break points, on the ninth deuce, Fish obtained a game point with a backhand volley winner and sealed the game with a strong serve for 2-1.  Thereafter, both men cruised on serve until the tenth game when Fish misfired on a forehand up the line to give Federer set point.  With an ace, Fish wiped out Federer’s advantage and later tied the set at 5 all.  At 5-6 on Fish’s serve, Federer arrived again at set point when Fish’s stroke hit the net and flew long.  Once more, Fish repelled his opponent and forced a tiebreaker.

On Federer’s backhand crosscourt error, Fish got a mini-break for 4-3.  But, with two forehand winners, Federer stole both points off Fish’s serve for 5-4.  Still, Fish reversed the tides with an overhead winner and a backhand error by Federer to fabricate set point at 6-5.  With Federer unable to catch up to Fish’s serve, the American bagged the tiebreaker.

Yet to face a break point, Federer continued to coast on serve in the second set.  However, Fish had no problem matching the defending champion.  In fact, Fish’s first serve percentage improved as the set progressed.  At two all, Fish pushed Federer to a deuce game.  But, Federer guarded serve to stay ahead 3-2.  After holding at love for 6-5, Federer got to deuce on Fish’s watch with a forehand up the line winner.  By readily finding his first serve, Fish held for a second tiebreaker.

With a forehand crosscourt winner, Federer inched ahead with a mini-break for 2-0.  After stretching his lead to 4-1, Federer provoked two errors from Fish to take command of the tiebreaker at 6-1.  Next with an ace, Federer leveled the match at one set a piece and forced a decisive set.

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Final Four at the Legg Mason Classic: Malisse, Baghdatis, Nalbandian and Cilic

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Final Four at the Legg Mason Classic: Malisse, Baghdatis, Nalbandian and Cilic


The customary Washington heat returned today melting down two of the top remaining seeds.  In the first match of the afternoon, Tomas Berdych, the 2010 Wimbledon finalist and number one seed, was booted by Xavier Malisse 6-4,3-6, 6-2.  The same fortune befell Fernando Verdasco, the third seed.  The Spaniard was ushered out by Marcos Baghdatis 7-6,6-4.

In the evening session, David Nalbandian bested Gilles Simon, the 13th seed, 3-6,6-2, 6-3.  At number four, Marin Cilic is the highest surviving seed. Cilic toppled Janko Tipsarevic 7-6,6-4.

Having split their prior two encounters in 2006, for both Malisse and Berdych it was case of getting reacquainted.  Malisse drew first blood by capitalizing on his second break point chance in the third game.  The Belgian went on to readily consolidate for 3-1.  Down love-30 in the fifth game,  Berdych worked his way back to game point.  However, with Berdych failing to convert on eight game points, Malisse seized a second break and 5-2 lead.  Although Berdych narrowed the arrears to a single break, with the insurance edge Malisse managed to wrap up the set.

Unable to break in the second game, Berdych was gifted a double fault on double break point by Malisse for 5-4.  The Czech secured the following game to force a third set.  After opening the fourth game with a double fault, Berdych compounded it with a series of unforced miscues.  As a result, Malisse inched ahead 4-3.  With Berdych misfiring on three consecutive backhands, Malisse increased his lead to 5-3.  For good measure, Malisse broke Berdych one last time to earn his first semifinal berth in Washington.

After the match, Berdych expressed his discontentment with playing his third round on a non-show court and being scheduled first today after getting to his hotel late this morning.  At the preceding conference, Berdych alluded to jet lag being an issue, the early match he felt added to his wretched play in the first set.  Nevertheless, Berdych acknowledged that Malisse merited the win because he performed well.

For his part, Malisse commented that the key to his victory was his ability to return.  Malisse remarked that the third set was near perfect tennis from his end.

In the second singles, Verdasco had three break opportunities in the opening game.  Baghdatis survived the challenge and went on to break for 2-1.  Yet, Verdasco quickly got back on serve by manufacturing a break of his own.  Ultimately, the set was decided by a tiebreaker.  Courtesy of three double faults by Verdasco, Baghdatis built a 5-2 advantage.  As another Verdasco forehand traveled out of play, Baghdatis bagged the first set.

After Verdasco held to carry the initial game of the second set, Baghdatis netted a backhand giving the Spaniard triple break point.  However, Baghdatis once again disappointed his rival.  The next game, a disenchanted Verdasco dropped his serve.  Although Verdasco immediately equalized the set at 2 all, the errors became uncontrollable leading to further breaks.  When Verdasco’s forehand pass sailed long, Baghdatis had double break point.  With Verdasco flubbing a backhand down the line, Baghdatis secured a 5-3 lead which was the difference in the match.

MiamiTennisNews asked:
Q.  This was your first meeting with Baghdatis, was his game different than expected?
Verdasco:  No . . . I did not play [well].  It was very windy . . .so it was tough to play for both of us . . . [Too] many double faults [because of ] the changing direction of the wind . . . The bounce of the court was sometimes [irregular] . . . The conditions were not easy.

MiamiTennisNews was curious about Verdasco’s racket conundrum.
Q.  Earlier in the year you experimented with a different brand and you’ve since switched back.  What’s the reason?
Verdasco:  Before [the season started] I tried Yonex and I was suppose to play in Australia with it.  But, [the manufacturer] did not [fabricate] the racket the way I wanted.  So, I was told to play with my old racket in Australia . . . In San Jose and Memphis, I played with the Yonex racket.  On clay in Acapulco, I [noticed] it was not the racket I want . . . After Acapulco, the [team] spoke to Dunlop to see if it can make the [equipment that suits] my game. Dunlop worked on it for a few months, that’s why I played the clay and grass seasons with a black racket.  It’s still an [evolving process], trying to find the perfect racket.  It’s never easy like changing clothes or sunglasses because it’s such an [integral] part of the game.

Q.  Any plans to defend your title at the Pilot Pen?
Verdasco: I will just be playing the two Masters and the [major].  Last year I won New Haven, it was great and I enjoyed it . . . The people really treated me well . .  . But, last year, when I got to the U.S. Open, I had a micro-tear in my abs and lost in the first round  because of too many matches in a row.  I don’t want that to happen this year because I want to do well in [New York].

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Berdych and Verdasco Make the Cut, Roddick and Company Wipe Out

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Berdych and Verdasco Make the Cut, Roddick and Company Wipe Out


With the quarterfinal spots at stake, after nearly five hours, the stormy weather cleared to allow play at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.  While Tomas Berdych, the number one seed, and Fernando Verdasco, the third seed, battled their way into the next round.  For the Americans, the tournament was a disaster.  Andy Roddick, the three time champion and second seed, 2007 finalist John Isner as well as 2010 Atlanta champion Mardy Fish were all swept away.

Isner, the fifth seed, squared off against Xavier Malisse.  In March at their initial meeting in Houston, Malisse prevailed in three tiebreaker sets. In the beginning stages of the first set, Malisse had a few break points.  However, Isner promptly brushed those aside.  Later at 4 all, Malisse obtained the break which permitted him to take the set.  But, in the second set, Malisse double faulted on break point to give Isner a 2-1 edge. As usual, this was the minute window the American required to push the match to a third set.  In the third game, Isner had two break point chances, yet converted none.  For his part, with Isner serving at 4 all, Malisse failed to capitalized on love 40.  Thus, the tiebreaker was called upon.  At 5 all, Isner miscalculated an overhead which resulted in the ball landing on his side of the court.  With a mini-break/match point in hand, Malisse connected on a good serve.  With Isner botching the return, Malisse punched his ticket into the subsequent round with  a 6-4,3-6,7-6 win.

Despite recently turning 30, Malisse is enjoying great success the last few months. MiamiTennisNews asked:

Q. Although you are getting on in years, you are playing pretty good tennis.  What keeps you motivated?
Malisse: I had two years of injuries, when you are sidelined and everyone else is playing it hurts. Sometimes you say that you want  a couple of weeks off, when it’s [not on your own terms], it really gets to you . . . Since I had two easy years, I feel I am healthy now . . . The road back has been tough playing challenger last year after being in nice tournaments in nice places. . . But it feels so much more satisfying now . . . Before, I was just playing, not really enjoying it.

At Wimbledon, Malisse teamed up with Kim Clijsters and made it to the quarterfinals in mixed doubles.  MiamiTennisNews inquired:

Q. Do the two of you  plan to do the same at the U.S. Open?
Malisse: I don’t think so.  We have not talked about it. It’s harder considering it’s five sets . . . We had a good time and laughed a lot in [London], that’s the most important thing.

The first set went along swimmingly for Malisse’s quarterfinal opponent, Berdych against Andrey Golubev.  After securing the break in the third game, Berdych cruised on serve.  Nevertheless, serving to send the second set into a tiebreaker, Berdych dropped serve at love.  In the decisive set, Berdych broke for 3-2.  Though, serving for the match and ahead 30-0, Berdych surrendered four straight points to enable Golubev back in.  Still, Berdych managed to break once more and hold for a 6-3,5-7,7-5 victory.

First round at Wimbledon, Berdych faced Golubev and send him packing in straight sets. Hence, MiamiTennisNews wanted to know:

Q.  Why was it so difficult to close Golubev out this time around?
Berdych: He’s really improved [in the last couple of weeks].  He won his first [title] in Hamburg which is a big tournament . . . Even before, he’s had a couple of good results . . . Hardcourt is going to be the best surface for him. . . The conditions, the fast courts suit his game . . .

The Sony Ericsson Open was a pivotal point in Berdych’s career.  Since, he’s had extraordinary results at the French Open and Wimbledon.  MiamiTennisNews questioned whether Berdych felt the same way.

Q.  In making the final in South Florida, did that give you the mental boost to propel you to additional success?
Berdych:  Yes. . .  But not only the tournament in Miami. It started the Davis Cup week right before Indian Wells. . . I won a couple of matches . . . Then at Indian Wells, I made the quarters which showed me even if I am . . .  not playing  well, I can [have] good results which gave me a lot of confidence. . . Coming to Miami which is really my favorite tournament . . . The key match against Roger [Federer] turning it around match point down . . . [getting] to the final . . .  I am happy I can keep the form, keep the consistency and bring more and more good results.

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