SONY ERICSSON OPEN
Berdych Sweeps Soderling To Reach Final Against Roddick
Czech Tomas Berdych continued his giant-killing run at the Sony Ericsson Open Friday night, powering his way into the final with a 6-2, 6-2 win over fifth seed Robin Soderling. Berdych, who took out top seed Roger Federer after saving a match point in the fourth round and 10th seed Fernando Verdasco in the quarter-finals, will face sixth seed Andy Roddick in the final.
Berdych had lost his past three meetings (and five of the past six) against the heavy-hitting Soderling and knew that he needed to execute a different game plan tonight. “In all my matches with Robin in the past I’ve been too defensive… if you give him time to hit the ball hard it’s really tough,” Berdych said. “I wanted to play more aggressive, but without making mistakes.”
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Berdych did just that, hitting 17 winners against 15 unforced errors, while Soderling hit just 10 winners and made 31 unforced errors. The Czech also won 83 percent of first-serve points, 67 percent of second-serve points and saved the lone break point he faced.
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Berdych always had Soderling under pressure, earning four break points in the Swede’s first two service games of the second set before breaking through in Soderling’s third service game.
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Berdych brought up match point with the shot of the match: Having been run side to side earlier in the point, Berdych ran at full pace back to the deuce court and curled a down-the-line forehand winner past Soderling at the net. The 68-minute match was over the next point when Soderling sent a forehand sailing long.
Berdych, who reached the Sony Ericsson Open semi-finals last year, will be appearing in just his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final and is seeking his second title at this level, five years after he won Paris in 2005. The former World No. 9 boasts a 17-6 record on the year. He trails Roddick 2-5 in head-to-head meetings.
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