Wawrinka into semis as Nadal downs Berdych
Originally published on: 08/11/13 00:00
Nadal’s 6-4 1-6 6-3 victory ensured he finished top of Group A ahead of Stanislas Wawrinka, who booked his place in the last four with victory over David Ferrer.
The result means the world No.1 cannot meet Djokovic until the final after the Serb secured top spot in Group B with victory over Juan Martin Del Potro on Thursday.
Nadal, who beat Ferrer and Wawrinka in his first two round-robin matches, had already secured his place in the semi-finals with a match to spare, but guaranteed he would finish top in the group by winning the opening set against Berdych.
The top seed broke in the opening game of the match to take control of the opening set, and now awaits either Roger Federer or Del Potro, who meet on Saturday for the final semi-final berth.
Wawrinka’s victory over Ferrer earlier in the afternoon meant only victory was good enough for Berdych to progress beyond the group stages, and he bounced back in style, powering to a 5-0 lead before wrapping up the second set in convincing fashion to keep his semi-final hopes alive.
Berdych dug deep to hold onto his serve for 2-2 in the deciding set, but Nadal was relentless, and some devastating forehands saw him break for a 5-3 lead enabling him to serve out the match in an hour and 50 minutes.
"I am in the semi-finals without losing a match, so that's the most important thing for me," Nadal said. "Any [semi-final] opponent will be very difficult. If it is Del Potro, [or] if it is Federer, both players know how to beat me, on this surface especially."
While Berdych's regular season on the ATP circuit is over, he will represent Czech Republic as they defend their Davis Cup title against Serbia next week.
"From the beginning of the second set my level of game was quite high and I kind of felt that I'm going really on the edge, especially on my serve," Berdych said. "With him it's always very tough. That's why he's No.1 in the world. [One game] I didn't handle well. That's it. That's the difference between the sixth player and the first player."
Earlier in the afternoon, Wawrinka did everything in his powers to join Nadal in the semis after coming from a set down to beat third seed Ferrer 6-7(3) 6-4 6-1.
The Swiss dominated on the first serve and struck 35 winners to see off Ferrer and claim second spot in Group B and make the last four on his debut appearance at the event.
“I know my serve can be big and I can make the big points,” he said. “I started to serve more into [Ferrer’s] body and it worked for me.”
Ferrer, playing his seventh tournament in seven weeks, appeared frustrated at times, smashing his racket after being broken midway through the second set.
He leaves London with three defeats and hasn't won a title since February, but was pleased to have made the Finals.
“Of course I am happy with 2013,” he said. “I reached my first Grand Slam and maybe I will finish the year as No. 3 or 4. It is difficult to recover against Stan because he serves very good all match.”