Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Tomas Berdych and Australian Open 2013

Tomas Berdych started his 2013 campaign in Aircel Chennai Open as the top seed, but could not make it to the end as he fell in the quarter-finals at the hands of eventual runner-up Roberto Bautista Agut 5-7 6-2 3-6.
Berdych is one of the three top 8 players, outside the BIG 4, who have made it to the final of a Grand Slam in this era of BIG 4. Although the final came on the lawns of Wimbledon, but it came on the heels of back to back wins over Roger Federer in the quarter-finals and Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals. Berdych fell in the final at the hands of Rafael Nadal.

Berdych finished his 2012 campaign on a high note winning the Davis cup for Czech Republic. It was the Davis cup win in 2010, which propelled Novak Djokovic to the heights of success, will it do the same for Berdych remains to be seen.
Let us see what the probability of Berdych is, making it deep into the Australian Open. Berdych will be seeded 5th for the Australian Open.

Tomas Berdych and Australian Open – Based on the past results of 5th seeds

Tomas Berdych and his fans will not like to know that during the past 25 years, a 5th seed has never won on the Melbourne tennis courts. The best result by a player seeded 5th has been runner-up showing, achieving the feat 3 times since 1988 when Australian Open changed the surface from grass to hard courts.

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The first 5th seeded player to make it to the final of Australian Open was Michael Chang in 1996. Chang defeated 2nd seeded Andre Agassi in straight sets in the semi-finals to set up a championship match against 4th seeded Boris Becker, only to lose to Becker in 4 sets.

Andy Murray is the only other player who as a 5th seed has made it to the finals of Australian Open, and he has done it twice. In 2010, Andy Murray defeated Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, Nadal retired in the quarter-finals due to knee injury while trailing Murray 3-6 6-7 0-3. Murray then went on to defeat Marin Cilic in 4 sets in the semi-finals to set a show down against Roger Federer. Roger Federer defeated Andy Murray in straight sets to claim his 4th Australian Open title. Andy Murray, as a 5th seed, made it to the finals in 2011 again defeating Alexander Dolgopolov in the quarter-finals and David Ferrer in the semi-finals, 4 set victories in both the quarter-finals and semi-finals. However, Murray went down in straight sets to Djokovic in the final.

I just went on too much with the Murray thing, the point was just that a 5th seed has made it to the final of the Australian Open 3 times.

Berdych has 44% chance of making it to the quarter-finals or better. During the past 25 years a 5th seed has made it to the quarter-finals of Australian Open 11 times, going 5-6 in the quarter-finals.
5th seeds have lost in the first round 4 times during the past 25 years, however the last time a 5th seed lost in the first round was way back in 2005, and since then a 5th seed has made it to the 4th round at least.
Will Berdych follow the foot-steps of his past fellow 5th seeded players, or will he carve his own path?

Tomas Berdych and Australian Open – Based on the past performance of Berdych in Australian Open

Berdych is 20-9 life-time in Australian Open, and has made it to the quarter-finals in his last 2 trips here. In 2011 he fell at the hands of eventual champion Novak Djokovic in straight sets, the final score being 1-6, 6-7(5), 1-6.

In 2012 Berdych played Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals. The first two sets of the match were very high quality tennis, with Berych winning the first set 7-6(5). The second set went in the same manner as the first set, but with different outcome, as Nadal won the second set 7-6(6), from then on it was all Nadal. Nadal won the match in 4 sets, the final score being, 6-7(5), 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-3.

An interesting thing to note is that 7 of Berdych’s 9 loses at Australian Open have come at the hands of players who were ranked in the top 6 at that time. On his debut in Australian Open in 2004, Berdych lost in the 2nd round in straight sets to then world no.4 Andre Agassi. The following year in 2005, he lost the opener to then world no.6 Guillermo Coria. In 2007, Berdych lost to then world no.4 Nikolay Davydenko in the 4th round. In 2008 and 2009, he lost to Roger Federer in the 4th round. Berdych lost in straight sets in 2008, but took the first 2 sets in his 4th round encounter with the Swiss Mastero in the 4th round in 2009, however Roger Federer stormed back to win the next 3 sets and take the match.

Berdych should be well relaxed for the Australian Open. He serves big and his game suits the hard courts, will he unleash the beast he has in himself and make it deep into the Australian Open, or will he falter again. 

Let us wait and watch the future unfold.

For a preview of other players please see below:

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