Friday, 26 November 2010
Rafael Nadal into the Semi Final at the World Tour Finals
Rafael Nadal launched a furious blast at umpire Carlos Bernardes as the world number one clinched his place in the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals with a 7-6 (7/3), 6-1 win over Tomas Berdych on Friday.
Nadal felt aggrieved when Brazilian official Bernardes awarded a point to Berdych after the Czech sixth seed successfully challenged a call that his shot had gone out.
The Spaniard had stopped playing because Bernardes signalled the ball was out and felt the point should have been replayed. He responded to the decision with a prolonged rant at the umpire before eventually continuing the match.
The controversy actually worked in Nadal's favour as he took out his frustration on Berdych to secure the set he needed to reach the last four before eventually cruising to his third successive victory at the end-of-year event at London's O2 Arena.
Nadal qualifies as Group A winner and will play British number one Andy Murray, the Group B runner-up, in Saturday's semi-finals.
Berdych's heavy defeat means he has no chance of making the last four.
The final matches of the round-robin stage can bring all manner of mathematical equations into play, but the sums for Nadal were simple - he just needed one set to go through.
Since 2007, Nadal had beaten Berdych in all seven of their meetings, with the last and most famous his straight sets victory in this year's Wimbledon final.
The chance to avenge that defeat gave Berdych an extra incentive as he sought to follow Wednesday's impressive win over Roddick by claiming an even greater scalp.
He had a golden opportunity to take the initiative after earning two break points in Nadal's first service game, but the French and US Open champion wasn't fazed and came up with two winners to emerge unscathed.
Berdych's serve was under pressure in the fifth game as Nadal won two break points, however a fine forehand from the Czech was followed by a succession of booming serves to get him out of trouble.
Berdych's serve wasn't seriously threatened by Nadal for the rest of the set and a tie-breaker was needed to decide it, but not before the Spaniard let rip at Bernardes.
Nadal stopped playing as he felt the ball was out, but Berdych challenged the umpire's call that the backhand was long.
Replays showed the ball was in and Bernardes awarded the point to Berdych, even though Nadal felt it should have been replayed, prompting a furious protest from the 24-year-old.
Nadal responded to that perceived injustice by putting even more power behind his already-formidable groundstrokes.
Berdych had no answer to Nadal in this pumped-up mood and the Spaniard won the tie-break in convincing fashion.
Even with his semi-final place assured, there was no chance of a ferocious competitor like Nadal taking his foot off the gas, especially with that grievance still nagging away at him.
He broke in the fourth game of the second set after Berdych unwisely opted for a drop-shot from the baseline that flopped apologetically into the net.
Nadal went for the kill now and broke again for a 5-1 lead before serving out the match.