x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Berdych follows up finishing off Federer with derailing of Djokovic

An ecstatic Tomas Berdych becomes the first Czech player since Ivan Lendl in 1987 to reach the Wimbledon final.

Tomas Berdych, the Czech, celebrates match point in his victory over Novak Djokovic, the world No 2.
Tomas Berdych, the Czech, celebrates match point in his victory over Novak Djokovic, the world No 2.

LONDON // An ecstatic Tomas Berdych became the first Czech player since Ivan Lendl in 1987 to reach the Wimbledon final after clinically dismantling the powerful baseline game of Serbia's Novak Djokovic. Lendl, a former world No 1, was a reluctant performer on grass, claiming the surface would be put to better use accommodating cows. However, Berdych looks a natural and will have high hopes of adding to the title he collected on the German lawns of Halle three years ago.

To achieve that honour, he must follow up his victories over Roger Federer and the new world No 2, Djokovic, with another prize scalp - that of Rafael Nadal, tomorrow. Speaking before he knew who he would be facing, Berdych said: "After my last two wins it would be bad if I say I fear anybody from now on, so I'm looking forward to the next one. "It's a great feeling to be in my first grand slam final but I'm not done yet. One more to go."

Berdych, whose composure deserted him only once, when he was warned for racket abuse, said he has not yet played his best tennis. "I was just glad that I did what I needed to do and won it in three sets," he said in analysing his 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 victory. Djokovic will still be smarting this morning that he did not at least take the contest into a fourth set. He produced his best moments of the match to make an equalising break of serve for 6-6 in the second, only to lose the ensuing tie-break 11-9 on Berdych's fifth set point. "Maybe it would have been a turning point if I had won that tie-break," he said.

"But the fact of the matter is that I didn't deserve to win today. I congratulate my opponent because he was the better player. I hope that the next time I get an opportunity like this, I'll play better." Like Federer before him, Djokovic, the former Australian Open champion, struggled to cope with the power of Berdych's forehand and the Czech's booming serve, which realised 11 aces to follow the 14 that flew past Federer.

"There are many other things that have been working better for me here," Berdych said. "When that happens it gives you more confidence. I feel a lot stronger, on the mental side as well as the physical side." wjohnson@thenational.ae