Australian Open 2017: Roger Federer steamrolls Berdych to move into Round 4
This was Federer's first match against a top 10 player in six months.
17th seeded Roger Federer handed out a tennis masterclass to 10th seeded Tomas Berdych, beating the Czech 6-2 6-4 6-4, in just an hour and 30 minutes. Federer won 95% points on his first serves, and did not even face a single break point in the entire match. He also hit 10 backhand winners to Berdych's none, sending out an ominous warning to his coming opponents.
By no means did Berdych play badly. It's just that Federer was playing at a scarily insane level. A staggering stat that tells the story of this match is that Berdych had just one unforced error in the first set, but still lost the set 6-2. That's how good Federer was today. You had to see it, to believe it!
Federer's always had an edge over Berdych. And it reflects in their head-to-head as well, which Federer comfortably leads at 16-6, with the Swiss maestro winning all of their last five meetings. In fact, they last met at the previous edition of the Australian Open itself, where Federer triumphed comfortably in straight sets in the quarter-finals.
The last time Berdych defeated Federer was way back in 2013 in Dubai in an extremely close contest.
Federer was all over Berdych in this set. It took just 26 minutes for Roger to secure the set 6-2 with some pristine attacking tennis. It was a shaky start for Federer, as he committed two very uncharacteristic back-to-back double faults in his very first service game. But he managed to see off that game safely.
It was all Federer thereafter. He broke Berdych's serve at 2-2 with an outrageous return winner. Some more aggressive tennis by Roger, and a lucky net cord on break point, meant that he was up a double break in no time, serving for the set at 5-2. Federer quickly managed to hold his serve to secure the first set.
Another sublime set of tennis saw Federer taking the 2nd set 6-4. Federer lost just 4 points on his serve in this set, finding the corners on his serves. Federer was quickly off the blocks in this set as well, giving Berdych absolutely no chance to have a look in the match.
Starting the set by breaking Berdych's serve, Federer seemed to be rolling back the years, hitting those glorious single handed backhand down the line winners. Serve volleying on his service games, moving Berdych to every corner of the court, and thus, rendering him helpless. In no time, Federer was 4-2 up.
Berdych tried keeping up, but just had no answers. Another couple of quick holds by both players meant that Federer was 5-3 up, with Berdych to serve. A strong hold by Berdych meant that Federer would serve for the set at 5-4, which he did fairly comfortably to wrap up the set 6-4.
Despite serving two aces in the game, Berdych saw himself going a break down after the very first game again. On break point, the rally that ensued would have had all Federer fans standing up and hugging each other. For most part in the rally, Berdych had the upper hand, running Roger from side to side. But somehow Federer managed to get himself back in the rally, finding space to hit another one of his glorious backhand down the line winners.
Both Federer and Berdych quickly held serve in the next two service games, with serving of the highest quality. Berdych had a little look in on the Federer serve at 2-1 15-30, but Federer promptly took care of the situation with some incredibly well-directed 1st serves.
Berdych then quickly held serve, trying to keep himself in the hunt, should Federer let his level drop even for a bit. But that never happened. A love game from Federer meant that he would quickly go up 4-2.
A couple of comfortable holds meant that Berdych had to serve to stay in the match at 3-5. After being 40-0 up, Berdych seemed to have been messing things up, letting Federer back to 40-40, but some clutch serving by him meant that Federer had to serve the match out. But Federer dished out some clutch serving on his own, to safely seal the set at 6-4, ending simply with a backhand crosscourt winner.
Federer will next take on 5th seeded Japanese superstar, Kei Nishikori, in the 4th round.