Berdych’s First Semis Since February


Qatar ExxonMobil Open, Doha

[55] Pierre-Hughes Herbert (FRA) vs. [71] Tomas Berdych (CZE)

It was their first meeting and the advantage should have been Herbert’s; however, years of being ranked in the top ten came to Berdych’s rescue. While he played with a certain freedom, Herbert played tentatively. Despite the score, Herbert was right in the match and just lost his focus when he was ahead.

Sensing his opponent’s anxiousness, Berdych kept applying the pressure by attacking the second serves of his opponent. In the first set, Herbert was broken twice in succession from a 40-15 lead. There was not much he could do in the first set as Berdych defended his serve extremely well. Herbert had no break opportunity to get back in the first set.

Upset at losing his serve twice from a winning position, the Frenchman’s frustration mounted. This carried over into the second set, where once again he had a lead (40-0 up) and he was broken. Although he competed better in the set, he failed to take advantage of his two opportunities to break his opponent.

Berdych served well, returned even better and was the better mover. His passing shots down the line won him some crucial points and frustrated Herbert who tried to mix things up by serving and volleying. Discouraged at not holding on to his serve in the first game of the second set, Herbert did not throw in the towel. He fought to stay in touch with his opponent but Berdych was determined not to surrender his lead.

Berdych won 6-2, 6-4. The Czech is into his first semifinal since February of 2018. No doubt he would like to take it a few steps further. This is a great start after his 2018 season was cut short five months prematurely due to back injury.

SOURCE OF IMAGES: serveandrally

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