BNP Paribas Masters, Paris
[CR5] Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs. [CR18] Kevin Anderson (RSA)
Anderson hoped the outcome would be different this time after winning the first set; yet, he has previously won the first set only to lose the match, so his belief was not strong. Instead of gaining in confidence, winning the set made him so anxious he reverted to playing defensively and that was exactly what Berdych wanted. Overwhelmed by doubts, Anderson’s game deteriorated and he immediately lost his serve in the second set. He never recovered after losing the second set and despite going up a break in the third, he was undone by his mental fragility.
Berdych breathed a sigh of relief as his dominance over Anderson continues. Although there was a brief moment of panic when he got broken in the third set, he need not have worried as Anderson immediately lost his nerve and his serve. As the match drew to a close, the burden of losing every encounter with Berdych got a little heavier and the belief that he could ever beat him disappeared. Thus, Anderson lost his serve a second time in the set and it was all Berdych needed to seal the victory 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4.