Tomas Berdych battles past Richard Gasquet to retain Shenzhen Open title

Tomas Berdych clinched his first title of 2016 at Shenzhen and regained hopes of qualifying for year ending ATP World Tour finals.

By: Reuters | Shenzhen | Published:October 2, 2016 9:08 pm
Tomas Berdych, Berdych, Shenzhen Open, Richard Gasquet, Gasquet, ATP World Tour finals, ATP, tennis, tennis news, sports, sports news Tomas Berdych is ninth in the rankings with eight players qualifying for ATP World Tour finals. (Source: AP)

Tomas Berdych captured his first title of the season when he battled past Richard Gasquet 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 6-3 to clinch the Shenzhen Open for the second successive year on Sunday.

The victory boosted hopes of a seventh-consecutive ATP World Tour final appearance for Berdych, who is currently ninth in the race, just outside the eight qualifying spots for London.

The two players, tied at 7-7 in head-to-head meetings ahead of the final, 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.

Playing in his 30th tour final, Berdych 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.

“Five weeks ago I was in hospital, now I’m sitting here with the trophy. Things are changing very quickly,” Berdych said.

“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.”