Tomas Berdych produced a professional display to dispatch Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in two hours and 36 minutes in a box office clash on Rod Laver Arena.
The start of the match began with a bit of cat and mouse, in the fourth game Berdych struck a vicious cross-court forehand winner to go up 15-30 on the Australian’s serve. Kyrgios, who defeated Pablo Cuevas in the second round, replied with his own cross-court forehand winner, only to attempt an audacious second serve ace at 203 KMH which failed to find the mark. The Czech made no mistake on the break point opportunity and then held to love to take a 4-1 lead after just 17 minutes.
Having appeared to have zoned out of the match the 29th seed reengaged as he struck a superb backhand cross court return winner to punish the second serve and go up 15-30. Berdych eased through his second round match, but here he went long with his groundstroke presenting the break back opportunity. Frustratingly for the home man he put his return long but later hit a superb forehand cross court to deny an escape to the game for the former semifinalist. Another break point presented itself but the sixth seed held firm and closed out the game.
Further missed opportunities to punish the second serve left Kyrgios exasperated with his game, flinging his racket to the ground as Berdych brought up two set points. The Czech closed it out on serve looking as solid as ever, taking the first set 6-3.
Tight Second Set To Berdych
In the second set it was a lot more even, with both players holding serve well. Berdych looked to recapture the game which outplayed Kyrgios in the first set This is something which he managed to achieve in the seventh game, hitting multiple aggressive groundstrokes to break the Australian’s serve.
At 30-30 on the sixth seed’s next service game he found a first serve and backed it up with a one-two punch combination to snuff out the chance.
Kyrgios was incredibly distracted in his next service game, complaining about background noises he could hear in the Rod Laver Arena. He kept stopping between points and having words with the umpire and the crowd. “There is music playing in the crowd when we are playing!” were the words he continued to repeat to umpire James Keothavong.
This clear distraction for the 20 year old did not prevent him holding serve but he produced errors in the next game and with that Berdych secured a two sets to love lead 6-4.
Kyrgios Battles His Way Back Into The Match
Last year’s quarterfinalist was only playing in Melbourne Park’s main stage for the second time and was once again struggling. However, the start of the third set provided the breakthrough he was searching for, capitalizing on his third breakpoint before holding to take a commanding 3-0 lead.
Suddenly it was the Czech who was reeling after a Kyrgios forehand cross-court winner helped to create another break point opportunity. Berdych went wide with the forehand and with that it was a double break, an incredible turnaround.
In his attempts to salvage the set Berdych brought up 0-30, only for the Australian to fire down two aces and a big serve to save the break point. Two more aces, six in that one game in total, helped him to bring up game points, but three times he was denied. 25 minutes into the set and Kyrgios secured the pivotal hold, 5-0.
After just 33 minutes the third set was wrapped up by Kyrgios, finishing with an ace to take it 6-1. Berdych has not lost before the quarterfinal stages here in Melbourne since 2010, but there was still work to be done in order to keep that run going.
Both players served well at the beginning of the fourth set, neither playing losing more than one point on their opening two service games. Kyrgios made the first move as he reached 30-30 on the Czech’s serve, but the sixth seed duly responded with a stunning running forehand down the line to make it 3-2.
The momentum seemed to be heading the former Wimbledon runner-up’s way as he brought up two break point chances to take a stranglehold on the match. The young Australian’s response was quite staggering as he hit consecutive aces, a huge second serve and a sensational reflex volley to hold serve. Unreal tennis.
The business end of the set brought two double faults from Berdych in the ninth game, but the Czech still managed to hold to move within one game of the fourth round. The sixth seed sensed the time to strike as Kyrgios failed to find his first serves. A blistering hooked forehand down the line winner followed by a backhand cross court winner brought up three match points. Perhaps unsurprisingly the match finished with a double fault from the crowd favorite as he went far too big on the second serve.
Game, set and match Berdych 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4, a very professional performance from the Czech. He will now go on to face the Spaniard Roberto Bautista-Agut, after the 24th seed upset former US Open champion Marin Cilic in straight sets.