Tomas Berdych meets Andy Murray for a spot in the semifinals of the Mutua Madrid Open. With these two having gone into further rounds than the quarters last year, someone is bound to be dropping points in this clash between top ten players.
Road to the Quarters
Andy Murray’s road to the quarters hasn’t been as straightforward as he would have liked it to be. In the second round, he met Radek Stepanek, one of the oldest active players on the ATP World Tour. Stepanek made Murray earn this win as the Brit came from a break down in the opening set before capturing it in a tiebreak. He dropped the second set to the veteran before taking the third. In Murray’s third round match, it was a less challenging battle. The world number two took out Gilles Simon in straight sets.
Berdych has yet to drop a set en route to the quarterfinals. The world number eight also had a first round bye like Murray did due to being one of the top eight seeds. He rolled Denis Istomin in the second round before setting a top 10 clash against David Ferrer. The Czech trailed the head-to-head against the Spanish number two, but he outlasted Ferrer in the end to capture in two tightly-contested sets.
Just like his head-to-head with Ferrer, Berdych has a very close head-to-head with Murray. The Scot holds the slightest of edges, leading seven wins to six over the Czech. The last three meetings have gone Murray’s way which has given him the edge. The two have yet to meet this year, but the world number two captured all three meetings last year, with all of them coming in Masters 1000 events or Grand Slams in at least the quarterfinal stage or later. Berdych recorded his last win against Murray, ironically enough in the quarterfinals of Madrid two years ago. The Czech won in straight sets and his hoping for a repeat performance of that.
The head-to-head is so close because the difference between each of them is by a slim margin. The Czech holds the edge in serve and forehand. It’s pretty much a given that with every great serve comes another deadly shot, and that shot is the forehand. Meanwhile, Murray holds the edge in movement and backhand. Whilst Berdych’s backhand is solid, the Brit’s backhand is widely considered one of the best in the game, especially on the defense. If it comes down to a mental battle, Murray holds the edge in that aspect, leading the head-to-head and for the fact that the Czech struggles against the Big Four.
Prediction: Murray in three sets
Murray has dominated the last few showdowns against Berdych, but the Czech needs something to get his season kickstarted. The Brit has struggled against some lower-tiered opposition the last few months, but he always steps his game up when it comes time to meet the world’s best. Look for Berdych to steal the opening set, but for Murray to regroup and take it in three.