Loss to Tomas Berdych in Dubai not major concern for FedEx

Tomas Berdych pulled off a surprising victory that will deny tennis fans a showdown between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic at the Dubai Championships.

The Swiss legend will certainly be disappointed over the result, but the loss is not a reason to worry going forward.

The semifinal was a back-and-forth affair, and both Berdych and Federer had their chances to win. Ultimately, Berdych saved three match points and was on the right side of the 3-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4 score line.

After the contest, Federer said the following, via the BBC:

Obviously I leave this match with a lot of regrets - serving for the match, having chances in the beginning of the second when he wasn't quite in the match yet to go a set and a break up. There were a few points where things just didn't happen for me.

Berdych is a player who has given Federer trouble historically.

The 27-year-old Czech has now won five of the last eight meetings between the two players.

Still, Federer was very much competitive in this match, and if not for uncharacteristic errors - he had five double-faults compared to Berdych’s two - he likely would be in the finals.

The defending champion at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships experienced déjà vu with Berdych in Friday’s semi-finals, relinquishing three match points in a second set tie-break before ultimately losing to the sixth-ranked Czech in three sets. Federer also failed to lock up victory over Berdych when holding match point at the Sony Open Tennis in Miami three years ago, and in a Davis Cup doubles rubber with Yves Allegro in 2007, the two blew a match point and a two-set lead against Berdych and Radek Stepanek.

“It's just disappointing losing this way. I think it's the third time I lost [with] match points against Tomas, twice in singles and once in doubles,” reflected Federer. “It's just one of those matches you feel you should have won but end up losing. When you lose with match points, you always have a lot of regrets. That's one of these matches again tonight.”

The ATP Tour is long and grueling, and even the greatest player to ever lift a racket has off days.

That is exactly why he should not be overly concerned with the loss.

At 31 years old, he is not getting any younger, and the day when his body simply will not allow him to be an elite athlete anymore is not that far away.

When this moment arrives, Federer will give his best effort and possibly still lose.

If his shots were dropping against Berdych and he was not making errors, but he still came out on the losing end, this would be extremely concerning.

But the point in Federer’s career when his best will not be enough to beat a player like Berdych has not yet arrived.

Unable to retain his trophies in Rotterdam and now Dubai, Federer will look to make it third time’s the charm at next week's BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament of the season. In the 2012 final, Federer defeated John Isner to become the first male to win four trophies at the event.

Last year’s winning performance at Wimbledon and his climb back to the No. 1 world ranking was a powerful reminder that he is still capable of being a dominant player. It is not out of the question for him to deliver more matches like this during the remaining majors in 2013.

This was nothing more than a bad day for Federer, and he should not dwell on the loss for very long.

Date: 2nd March 2013, Source: Bleacher Report and ATP


  1. Having it happen two tournaments in a row is concerning to me, but I still think he has great moments ahead of him. We got spoiled last year with all the titles he won.

  2. From what I saw of the earlier rounds RF was on his game, very positive and serviing well, so I was a bit surprised that his 1st serve seemed to drop a bit in the final - which can't have helped. Still, I'm sure a less hectic 2013 schedule will help Roger and as a result I fully expect him to have a good year in spite of having missed out in a this couple of early finals.