Sunday, October 9, 2011
Tomas Berdych to No. 7 with Beijing title
BEIJING -- Tomas Berdych beat Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to win the China Open on Sunday, and Agnieszka Radwanska topped Andrea Petkovic, 7-5, 0-6, 6-4 to claim the women's title, her second in as many weeks.
The victory lifted Berdych past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to No. 7 in the world standings and gave the Czech valuable points toward the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals.
It was the third-seeded Berdych's first finals appearance this season after losing in six semifinals, and his first title since Munich in 2009.
"To bring this title really means a lot to me. After 29 months, it's been quite a long time, so I'm happy that I could break this up," said Berdych, whose best performance to date came in the 2010 Wimbledon final that he lost to Rafael Nadal.
Cilic served out the first set emphatically with an ace, but Berdych raced to a 3-0 lead in the second. While Cilic rallied to keep it close, Berdych broke him at 5-4 to win the set and turned the match for good in the third game of the third set.
"I had a pretty good start to the second set. I made a break and at that moment I started to feel, that's the chance, I can do it well," Berdych said.
Cilic, of Croatia, seemed firmly in command in the first set, making few mistakes and serving strongly. Berdych held on, however, eventually wearing him down and taking all four of the final games.
"I'm feeling a little disappointed by the loss today," said Cilic, who missed out on a crucial chance to break Berdych at the end of the second set.
"I didn't give up. A few points decided the second set ... then the third set went the way it did," he said.
In the women's final, 11th-seeded Radwanska recovered after failing to win a single game in the second set in a match lasting more than 2½ hours.
"I tried to focus on my game, playing a bit more aggressively," the Pole said.
The two broke each other's serves repeatedly over lengthy rallies before Radwanska finally pulled ahead 5-4 in the decider and served out for the win after the ninth-seeded Petkovic saved the first match point.
"We played unbelievable today. I really just better by a couple of points. I think it was the best final I've played," Radwanska said.
Radwanska's third title of the year came on the heels of her victory in the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on Oct. 1.
Radwanska, who lost the 2009 final in Beijing to Svetlana Kuznetsova, is 5-0 against Petkovic.
"We always play very long rallies and we always play good matches. I expected a really tough match," Petkovic said. "All in all, in two or three days, when the disappointment settles a little bit, I think I'll be able to look at it as a really great match and really great entertainment for the people.
"I really have to turn around this head-to-head one day, hopefully soon."