Australian Open Semi-final Preview: Berdych Takes on Murray
Tomas Berdych goes into his 5th Grand Slam semi-final tomorrow, his 2nd in Melbourne, playing the best tennis of his career. He will come up against Andy Murray who beat him the last time they played in a slam, also at the last four stage, at the U.S Open 2012.
Murray is playing his best tennis since he won Wimbledon 2013, though he is still not at that level yet. Berdych might bring it out of him however. The clean hitting Czech has not dropped a set this event, and beat Rafael Nadal in straight sets in his quarter final, putting an end to the Spaniard’s 17 consecutive wins against him.
If Berdych comes out in the same form against Murray, the Scot will have to serve well, return at his best, and take risks, in short, produce his best game. Luckily for Murray, he has done that plenty of times down under. The two time slam champion has been to the Australian Open final three times and there are few courts where Murray feels more comfortable than the Rod Laver Arena.
Anything less than Murray’s best game, anything like the passive performances the Scot produces now and then, and an in-form Berdych will get the better of him. The Czech has done so when on top of his game throughout his career- he has beaten Murray 6 times and lost four. His clean-hitting, flat strokes- arguably the best in the game- can hit through the court and leave even Murray running past the tramlines.
One of those matches Berdych lost to the Scot, though, was the most important one- the U.S Open 2012 semi-final. That day Murray won in four sets, coping with the windy conditions better than the flat hitting Berdych.
This time, however, there won’t be any wild winds for Berdych to worry about. He will just have to deal with the Murray game, the game that will rob him of his rhythm, and which, if at its peak, could frustrate him into error.
Berdych will have to come out playing just as he did against Rafael Nadal and get the job done in three sets, four sets at most. Five will favor Murray who will be able to ride out the Berdych peaks and wreck mayhem in the lows. Berdych has yet to hit any lows yet, and if his confidence, form, and momentum are anything to go by, he is not likely to anytime soon.
Prediction: Berdych to win in four sets.
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