Tomas Berdych retained the Shenzhen Open title after defeating Richard Gasquet 7-6 (5), 6-7 (2), 6-3 in the final on Sunday. It was Berdych’s first ATP World Tour title since winning the Stockholm Open almost a year ago. Tomas Berdych moved to within 330 points of Rafael Nadal in the Emirates ATP Race To London and is currently ninth in the year-to-date standings, with the top eight at the end of the regular season set to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Berdych has played at the prestigious season finale in London the past six years.
“Five weeks ago I was in hospital, now I’m sitting here with the trophy,” said Berdych. “Things are changing very quickly. Luckily for me, everything is going well, I’m feeling good, sitting here as a winner. I’m just taking all this as a bonus, that I can play and win some matches.”
In the fourth all-30 and over final on the ATP World Tour this season, Berdych improved to an 8-7 mark over Gasquet in their ATP head-to-head record as he claimed victory in two hours and 40 minutes.
The two players exchanged breaks early on in the first set, before the big-serving Czech prevailed 7-5 in a tiebreak. The 31-year-old, who missed the U.S. Open after suffering from appendicitis, continued to heap pressure on Gasquet by securing an early break in the second set, but the third-seeded Frenchman saved two match points to level the contest through another tiebreak. Berdych then raced to a 5-3 lead without facing a break point in the deciding third set, and eventually held his nerve to secure the 13th ATP title of his career.
“I think it was a very solid game,” said Berdych. “I said after the semi-final that I wanted to raise my game and play better and I think I achieved that against a tougher opponent. I’m very pleased with the way I played.
“The two match points [in the second set] were very tough. He served aces so I couldn’t do anything about that. He started playing very well and deserved to win the second set. I had to battle for the win and sometimes that happens.”
Berdych will now look to make up more ground on Nadal in the Emirates ATP Race To London when he competes at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2016, an ATP World Tour 500 hard court tournament in Tokyo next week.