Thursday, 31 March 2011

Nadal to meet Berdych

Nadal, Berdych set for rematch of Wimbledon final

A semifinal berth will be at stake when Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych do battle in Miami on Thursday. Nadal and Berdych are familiar foes who faced each other three times last season, including for the Wimbledon title.

Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych will be squaring off for the 13th time in their careers when they meet in the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open on Thursday.

Nadal leads the head-to-head series 9-3, including 4-3 on hard courts. Interestingly, Berdych took three of their first four encounters only to see Nadal win eight in a row. Their most significant clash came in last year's Wimbledon final, where Nadal dominated 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. They also faced each other in round-robin action at the World Tour Finals, with the Spaniard prevailing 7-6(3), 6-1.

Although Nadal is not quite in the same form that carried him to an amazing 2010 campaign, he is still a massive favorite in this one. The world No. 1 is 17-3 for the season and he has not dropped a set in Miami while cruising past Kei Nishikori, Feliciano Lopez, and Alexandr Dolgopolov. Nadal looked especially impressive in disposing of the fast-rising Dolgopolov 6-1, 6-2 on Tuesday.

Berdych slumped throughout the latter stages in 2010, but he is once again playing stellar tennis. The seventh-ranked Czech owns 19-6 record on the year, which includes a trio of quarterfinals in addition to semifinal performances in Chennai and Doha. So far in Miami he has taken out Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo, Carlos Berlocq, and Florian Mayer--the last of which went to a third-set tiebreaker.

"Difficult match always," Nadal said Berdych. "We know each other. We played a lot of times, and I know if I play my best tennis I'm going to have chances against him. He can play very, very good, and I have to play very solid all the time with my serve and wait a chance on the return."

The No. 1 seed always downplays his chances, and based on current form this one should be easier than he expects. Berdych could make it competitive if his serve and forehand are clicking, but count on Nadal advancing in straight sets.

Courtesy: Tennistalk

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