Although he got off to a slow start during this year's tournament, Roger Federer seems to have found his confidence, which isn't looking very good for his quarter-final opponent Tomas Berdych.
Berdych meets Federer in what many call the weakest quarter of Wimbledon 2010, on the 16-time Grand Slam champion’s favourite stomping ground. The grass, the five-set matches and the fact Federer has a knack of saving his best for the Grand Slams all spell an early defeat for Berdych.
Federer’s two most recent matches have been straight-sets victories over Arnaud Clement in the third round and 16th-seed Jürgen Melzer in the fourth. Federer on the other hand has taken advantage of his own easy draw to recompose himself after struggling against poor opponents earlier on in the tournament. He required a total of nine sets to escape the first two rounds of play, but since then he has upped his game significantly. Despite a higher level of opposition, Federer cruised through rounds three and four with straight set wins.
Berdych has very little experience in matches of this magnitude as he is making just his third appearance in a Grand Slam quarterfinal match. He should have some confidence however as he defeated Federer the last time the two met and Berdych is fresh off of making his first Grand Slam semifinal. Berdych looked good to make it this far early in the tournament but his form has dropped off a little bit since then. His last two matches have not been easy despite the apparent easy competition.
The blindsiding Czech has delivered a handful of respectable results this year, none more impressive than reaching the semifinals at Roland Garros. Reaching two straight Slam quarterfinals will do a world of good for Berdych’s confidence, and it won’t hurt his chances that he defeated Federer in March.
Playing a looser, more cheery brand of tennis these days, Berdych could push Federer to four or five sets, but something tells me that after Federer’s resounding straight-set victory over Jurgen Melzer on Monday, the six-time champion is eagerly anticipating the business end of the tournament. Federer’s first serve is popping and hoping off Center Court once again, and that asset in his game should leave him with two or three windows of opportunity to avenge his most recent loss to the Czech.
While Federer is almost a permanent fixture in the final eight of the Grand Slams, whereas Berdych has only recently developed a taste for the action in the quarter-finals and beyond, having reached his first major semi-final at Roland Garros very recently. Federer holds an 8-2 win-loss record against Berdych, who won their first match against one another at the Athens Olympics in 2004 and then lost eight consecutive matches until he snapped that losing streak in the round of 16 at the Miami Masters 1000 earlier this year.
It’s a feat only Rafael Nadal, at the peak of his form in 2008, has been able to achieve in the past seven years at Wimbledon, and a challenge which will probably prove too great for Berdych in the quarter-finals this year.
This will be the eleventh time these two have faced one another, with Federer victorious in eight of the first ten meetings. Berdych, however, did beat Federer in 2004 when Federer was ranked number one worldwide. The 2010 French Open semifinalist will need his serve and forehand to be in top form if he is to have any chance against the Swiss native.
The outcome of this match will depend largely on which version of Federer shows up to play and how well Berdych can keep his own composure. If the Federer we saw in rounds three and four shows up, Berdych will likely be headed home quickly, possibly in straight sets. If Federer is shaky, however, and struggled with his first serve as he has at times during this tournament, and if Berdych maintains focus and does not psych himself out, we could have an entertaining match on our hands.
Six-times champion and top seed Roger Federer lost 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-4 to Czech Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon on Wednesday.
The defeat means Federer will be absent from the men’s final for the first time since 2002 when he lost in the first round.
World number two Federer, who had endured a shaky start to the grasscourt tournament, was outplayed by the tall Czech in front of a capacity Centre Court crowd.
He saved one match point with a volley at the net but Berdych finally completed his third career victory over the Swiss with a forehand winner.
Berdych will face Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals after the third seed comfortably saw off Andy Roddick’s conqueror Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan.