x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Berdych thrives, but Djokovic plans his downfall

The Serb has lost to the Czech only once in six matches and says he will be patient for his chances in the semi-final.

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DUBAI // Fans at Wimbledon would remember Tomas Berdych as the man who caused Roger Federer's earliest exit from the All England Club since 2002 when he defeated the Swiss in the quarter-finals last year.

Still, the Czech could walk down any street, in any city and not be recognised by many people.

Berdych, the world No 7, is not too worried about that at the moment, although someday he would like to enjoy the kind of results that Federer and Rafael Nadal have, without facing the pitfalls of fame.

"I would like to be on the side of the results, but definitely not what they need to go through," Berdych said, after his 7-5, 6-4 win over Philipp Petzschner yesterday.

"But this is a part of that. Definitely if you're going to have nine or 16 grand slams under the belt, of course the popularity is going to get much, much higher. But for this time, I'm quite happy with that."

Novak Djokovic, who will meet Berdych in the semi-finals today after a testy 7-5, 6-1 win over Florian Mayer, has been forced to move his base to Monaco because of a lack of privacy at home in Serbia. Federer has a home in Dubai.

Nadal still lives in Mallorca, but Berdych has followed Djokovic's path and the two Monaco residents will be meeting for the fifth time since Wimbledon, where the Czech defeated the world No 3 in the semi-final.

That is Djokovic's only defeat against Berdych in six matches, but he said: "He's playing really well in the last year and a half.

"He's a quite consistent player right now. We played in Australia [quarter-finals].

"It's different conditions, as I said. He has a very powerful serve, very fast baseline strokes, very flat, so I guess I need to be patient and wait for my chances."