Monday, 21 January 2013

Novak Djokovic vs Tomas Berdych (Australian Open Quarter-Final Preview)

Novak Djokovic faces Tomas Berdych for a spot in the semi-finals of the Australian Open 2013. Djokovic is coming off a huge confidence boasting win over Wawrinka in the 4th set. Djokovic won 12-10 in the final set.

Berdych had a confidence boasting win of his own over Anderson when he won the 3rd set tie-break 15-13 to clinch the match.

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Djokovic and Berdych have faced each other 12 times, with Djokovic winning 11 of those encounters. One of Berdych's 11 defeats, one came at the same stage in 2011 when Djokovic went on to win the title.

Berdych has made it to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the 3rd straight year. He has been playing well so far, but he might have his work cut out against the world no.1 Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic is one of the fittest players on tour, but he might be facing the after effects of his epic win over Wawrinka in the 4th round, and if that is the case, Berdych will have to capitalise on it.

Let us have a look at the performance of the players so far in the tournaments.

The stats used have been average stats for the 4 matches played by players so far in the tournament.

Description       Djokovic             Berdych     
Aces            8          8
Double Faults            2          2
1st Serve %age         67%         57%
1st serve points won                  79%         79%
2nd serve points won         64%         59%
Net points won         71%         69%
Break points won         43%         44%
1st serve return won         33%         37%
2nd serve return won         55%         63%
Winners         39         35
Unforced Errors         29         27

The stats favour Djokovic, but the match might come down to the 3 main things.

Serve: Djokovic's serve looked vulnerable in his match against Wawrinka, and if it does look the same he might be in trouble again. Djokovic has been broken 7 times so far, while Berdych has been broken 5 times. Berdych will have to up his first serve percentage if he is to have a chance against Djokovic.

Image via Getty Images
Break Points Conversion : What failed Wawrinka, despite playing better for most part of the match was his failure to convert on the break point chances he got against Djokovic. Berdych must learn the lesson from Wawrinka if he is to win, or he will be going home soon. Djokovic will not want to have another marathon match and will try to save as much energy as possible, so it will be important for him to capitalise on any break point chances he gets.

Return of Serve : The player who takes more chances and stays aggressive will have an advantage. Balanced aggression will win the match, however going for extra may cost either player.

We all know that Berdych lets the nerves get the better of him, and if he looses a close set, he collapses after that. Berdych will have to come out firing all cylinders and will have to stay mentally strong if he is to win this match and make it to the semi-finals of Australian Open for the first time in his career.

Djokovic will be hoping for an easy match to conserve energy, and will try to shorten the points. If Djokovic overdoes this, he may start making unforced errors. He will have to find his range and settle in from the start.

Pick : Djokovic in 5 sets

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