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Rafael Nadal vs. Tomas Berdych: 2013 China Open SF Preview
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Reads: 742, Comments: 1
Fans and the pundits alike have run out of words when it comes to describing the southpaw Rafael Nadal’s performances in 2013. The 13 times Grand Slam champ who made his much anticipated return after a seven month layoff in February has been successful in setting the bar so high that even the current World No.1 Novak Djokovic has looked like a pale shadow of himself.
The King of Clay has compiled a stellar 64/3 win/loss record so far this year including a Tour leading 10 trophies. Moreover, his victories at Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows has upped his stakes in the ‘Greatest of All Time’ debate as the likes of Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras believe that the 27 year old has an argument to make in that discussion.
The Majorcan started off his campaign in Beijing with a not so impressive act against the Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo, but managed to win in straight sets. In round 2 he put up yet another scratchy display against the German Philipp Kohlschreiber, still that contest didn’t last more than two sets. However, his patchy form was more profoundly exploited by the Italian Fabio Fognini on Friday as he bagged the opening set, before Rafa came back to claim victory in three sets.
However, he can’t make such mistakes against the World No.5 Tomas Berdych – his semi-final opponent in the competition on the day. The Birdman remains to be the only top-10 player this season who hasn’t won a crown as he has had an up and down year so far. The former Wimbledon finalist has blown hot and cold – cases in point are his triumph over 17 times Major conqueror Roger Federer at Dubai where he saved a match point, his progress through to the quarters of the Aussie Open and The Championships and his opening round exit at the Clay Slam in Paris and a second round departure from the Montreal Masters.
Still, he has managed to put up a string of triumphs at the Asian country’s National Tennis Center, none better than the win he accomplished the other day as he tamed the big serve and the heavy forehand of the towering American John Isner with his dexterous ground-strokes to earn a shot at the superstar for the 19th time in his career.
Nadal has utterly dominated his head-to-head against Berdych as he leads it 15-3 as far as wins and losses are concerned. But, what could come as a heartbreaker for Tomas is the fact that he hasn’t defeated Rafa since 2006. Yes, you heard it right he hasn’t been able to beat him in the last seven years – a streak of 14 consecutive wins for the former World No.1, something that would end all talk about Berdych’s chances in this match.
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