Berdych upsets Federer in Dubai semis

Tomas Berdych saved three match points before upsetting defending champion Roger Federer 3-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4 to earn a spot in the final of the Dubai Championships against Novak Djokovic.

Berdych came under pressure at 3-4 in the first set, dropping to 0/30, and went onto lose his serve after two deep forehands from Federer got the Czech off balance. Federer closed out the 38-minute set with a service hold to love.

In the second set, Federer was broken at 2-3, 15/40, when he snatched at a forehand, hitting the ball into the net. Berdych confirmed the break to love for a 5-2 lead.

Berdych, who has strengthened his core during the off-season and is a better mover around the court, served for the set a 5-3 but two forehand errors helped Federer get back into the pair’s 16th meeting.

Federer was able to convert three break point opportunities at 5-5 and was later forced to save one set point at 5-6, 30/40 en route to the second set tie-break.

The Swiss opened up a 6-4 lead, courtesy of Berdych errors, but some clever service placement got the Czech another set point at 7-6 in the tie-break. Federer’s third match point chance came and went at 8-7, before Berdych converted his third set point opportunity with a forehand return winner off a second serve.

Berdych broke Federer to 30 at 2-2 in the deciding set to silence the majority of the supporters. Under enormous pressure, Federer played aggressively in the seventh game and saved three break points.

Berdych recovered from 0/30 at 4-3 and then squandered his first match point opportunity in the next game with a forehand into the net. Federer saved a second match point with a powerful first serve.

Minutes later, when serving, Berdych closed out his 14th match win of 2013.

''Pity to lose that one, but Tomas did well to hang in there,'' Federer said. ''Obviously, I leave this match with a lot of regrets.''

Federer only converted 2 of 11 break points and his serve waivered in crucial moments, especially in the tiebreaker.

''The match was in my racket. You do all the right things for so long, and then at the end you've got to explain why you didn't hit two shots decent,'' he said. ''So it's disappointing.''

Federer is now 11-6 against Berdych in head to head.

Date: 1st March 2013, Source: ATP and Reuters


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