It was seeds 1 and 4 who met in the final of the ATP Dubai Masters 500; Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych. The Serbian hoping to extend his lead at the top of the ATP rankings, and Berdych hoping to be the first male Czech player to be a tournament champion, following in the footsteps of Czech Petra Kvitova. But before we look further into the final result, let’s take a step back to the semi-finals.
In the first semi-final, Novak Djokovic faced Argentinian giant Juan Martin del Potro. As reflected in the statistics, it was a very tight match, with players equal in most areas, but once Djokovic took one of those powerful serves, he was able to gain a little more control over the rallies than the world no.7 could. Plus his wonderful variety, that younger players (like del Potro) don’t always have the forward-thinking to do, he was able to hold all of his service games, and take a couple of breaks, to win the opening set 6-3. After this, we thought Djokovic would go onto win, looking at the ATP’s ‘FedEx Reliabilty Zone‘ we can see that, after winning the first set, Djokovic has gone on to win the match 98% of the time in the last 12 months. It was tight though, a serve dominated set that resulted in a tie-break, which he won 7-4. Making the final result 6-3, 7-6(4).
2nd Semi – Berdych V Federer
In the other semi, five time defending champion Roger Federer was to face Tomas Berdych. Having not really being tested throughout the earlier stages of the tournament, the Czech started slowly, with a fair few errors. Federer earned a break in the match’s first game, and another slightly later in the set, and he, of course, didn’t lose a break himself; so he won set one 6-3. Berdych woke up in the second , and really outplayed Federer but, the opposite to Djokovic, Berdych must be one of the game’s most unreliable players in high-pressure situations, and he lost three straight games, making it 5-5. Tomas came back to Earth and held serve, and he continued to set point in next game. But, another twist came as an out from Federer was classed as in, then, as Berdych lost heart, he lost the game, making it 6-6, and time for a tie-break. The world no.6 started well, leading 4-1, but he succumbed to the pressure and Federer had a match point. Then, it was an even battle, with Federer getting another two match points, before Berdych finally turned it around on his third set point! Federer continued to play poorly into the final set, and after four games, Berdych made the breakthrough with a well won break. They served it out. Making this the second successive time Berdych has beaten Federer!
THE FINAL – Djokovic V Berdych
World number 6 Tomas Berdych proved no problems for Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic in the final of the Dubai Championships, claiming an extraordinary fourth win in five years at the event. Berdych got off to a good start, taking the opening break but Djokovic fought his way back to emerge victorious in a tight first set – 7-5. The second set proved to be much easier for the six time grand slam winner, Berdych being a bit sloppy and against a player with the energy and variety of Novak Djokovic that’s simply unacceptable. The Serbian went on to win the set 6-3 to win the tournament without losing a single set! He has started the season in exquisite form and remains unbeaten since October, can anyone stop him?