The current world number one Novak Djokovic suffered an upset to Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the Qatar Open semi-final who will now face Berdych in the final.
Bautista beat the Serb after going a set down in the initial set of the match. In fact, Djokovic started the match superbly in contrast to the previous two matches in Doha where he lost the first set on both occasions.
However, from the second set onwards, Bautista upped his game significantly and managed to secure the second-set-tie-break and get the match to a deciding third set. The seventh-seeded Spaniard went on to win the third set and book him a place in this afternoon’s final.
With yesterday’s win, Bautista who is ranked 24th in the world won for only the second time in nine matches against the Serb, a two-time champion in Qatar.
In the other semi-final, the Czech Tomas Berdych who is currently ranked number 71, went against all odds and defeated the Italian Marco Cecchinato 7-6 6-3.
Cecchinato, currently ranked world number 20, was not in his best form as he was defeated in straight sets in just an hour and 29 minutes.
This year’s finalist hit 12 aces and he played well on both the first and second serve, losing just 15 points in 11 service games and saving two out of three break points to keep the pressure on Cecchinato.
Day 5 is over. While waiting for the final, let’s take a look at the best moments of the week for our FINALISTS! @robertobautistaagut @tomasberdych #atptour #qatartennis #qatarexxonmobilopen2019 pic.twitter.com/LGenRigzy6
— Qatar Tennis Fed. (@QatarTennis) January 4, 2019
The Italian had won just four ATP matches on hard court before the strong Doha campaign that had to be ended in the semi-final despite having three set points at 6-3 in the tie-break.
Berdych who once was a regular top 10 player, is yet to win a title since 2016 and today he could end this longlasting thirst for success.
He had ended his 2018 season midway through in June due to a back injury and now looks set to get back in the ATP top positions for the upcoming 2019 season.
The last time Berdych featured in a Qatar Open final, in 2015, it was also against a Spaniard, David Ferrer. It ended in a straight sets defeat.
Berdych owns a 4-2 record against Bautista-Agut, but interestingly, they are 2-2 on hard courts. Berdych’s power naturally gives him the advantage on this surface, but Bautista-Agut has shown over the years that he is very capable on quicker courts with his mixture of attack and defence, as six of his eight titles coming on hard courts.
We should expect a very balanced encounter between the two and victory will mainly depend on the approach they both take on the court as well as on how well they will take advantage of the weaknesses of each other.