x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Roddick edges out Berdych

The American recovered from a slow start to beat Tomas Berdych and join defending champion Radek Stepanek in the singles final at the Brisbane International.

The American Andy Roddick recovered from a slow start to beat Tomas Berdych 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 yesterday to join defending champion Radek Stepanek in today's singles final at the Brisbane International. Stepanek had earlier cruised into the final with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Gael Monfils, of France, but Roddick was made to work much harder to prevent an all-Czech final. "I didn't feel I played that badly in the first set, he just started so well," Roddick said. "The biggest part of the match for me was the first few games of the second set. I just wanted to make sure I stopped his momentum."

Berdych raced through the opening set in just 34 minutes after twice breaking Roddick's serve, but failed to achieve the feat again for the remainder of the contest. Roddick took the second with an early break then broke Berdych again late in the third before serving out the match after more than two hours on the Pat Rafter centre court. "I like to confuse and conquer sometimes," Roddick said. Stepanek needed just an hour to book his place in the final after Monfils was troubled by a shoulder problem.

The Frenchman went into the match with his right shoulder heavily strapped and said he was worried about aggravating the injury ahead of the Australian Open, starting in Melbourne on January 18. "Before the match I decided not to kill my shoulder," Monfils said. "It has been 10 days of pain now. Maybe I need two or three days off without tennis" Stepanek had little sympathy for the Frenchman's woes.

"Everybody has small issues and in our first tournament people are receiving treatment already," the Czech said. "I think I also broke him mentally. Mental toughness, that's 80 per cent of the game." * With agencies