Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, left, shakes hands with Bernard Tomic of Australia after defeating him during at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon. Photo: Sang Tan bernard tomic
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As the sun set on the Globe theatre-like court one, so it did on Bernard Tomic’s Wimbledon, but in a way to affirm in his mind that there will be plenty more tomorrows here for the Australian tyro.
Sixth-ranked Czech Tomas Berdych beat him 7-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, but afterwards was as relieved as he was exultant. “Bernard is a great player,” said Berdych. “He is using all the skills that you can possibly use on grass. That makes it so tough to play him, and makes me feel even better as a winner.”
For Tomic, it was so near, and yet so far. He had a point to win the first set, won the second and had another point to go ahead in the third. In the beginning, there was barely the width of a racquet string. In the end, there was Berdych’s experience; he has played five times as many matches on the pro circuit as Tomic. In the last hour of the match, he was able to assert himself as Tomic could not.
“I had chances in the third set, but I started to slip away,” Tomic said. “I was feeling a little bit tired out there. Tomas hitting the ball very big and low, so you have to be on your feet the whole time. I probably wasn’t the right physical shape in the fourth set. I was a little bit tired. That comes from playing three tough matches here at Wimbledon. Tomas played very good. There was nothing I could do in the end.”
Guileless to the end, Tomic said that if he had won the fourth set, he would have sought to slow the match, even asked for an injury time-out, until the light made it unplayable, and he could have resumed it fresh on Tuesday.
But Tomic exits a visibly improved player. His serve proved trustworthy; whenever he was in a corner in the first two sets, he served his way out of it. Twice, he saved from 0/40, almost nonchalantly. But Berdych’s delivery was nearly impregnable, and neither broke the other until the third set. Small differences told. If anything, Tomic had more trouble with Berdych’s second serve and the way it leapt off the court than he did with his first.
Conversely, Berdych pounced on Tomic’s second serve.
Tomic proved himself sound defensively, until worn down eventually by Berdych’s thumping groundstrokes. After losing his first service game in the fourth set, Tomic was not challenged again. But nor could he make a threatening impression on Berdych’s serve. Berdych was on the alert for Tomic’s patent variations, and forewarned proved forearmed. Some of the shots that Tomic got away with in earlier rounds, he was not given room or time even to play today.
Tomic said he still saw himself as a top-10 player-in-waiting; what he needed now was match miles. “I just need time and experience,” he said. “In every match I play now, you become more experienced. It will come I think as you work hard, as you play more tournaments, and get more experience. It was my first time playing Tomas in actual match, so I’m sure down the years I will play him much more times.”
Berdych proceeds to play world No 1 Novak Djokovic on Wednesday, the second time this year their paths have crossed in a major quarter-final. For some, the draw this year opened as wide as main street in a country town, but not for him. He did not protest.
Tomic goes either home or to the US, fortified. “I’m very happy with the way I played this tournament,” he said. “It’s given me my confidence back, and I’m going to use this into the hard-court season now. At his best now, he has the look of a player who has been around, and seen it all, and might some days be outclassed, but will not be taken by surprise. He is young still, although youth will not last as alibi.
Immediately, he has to work out a way to negotiate the rest of the year with his father and coach, John, in his match-day corner. Tomic said that was manageable. To the idea that his father was at his matches here anyway, he smiled and replied: “It’s a bit like ‘where’s Wally?’, isn’t it?”
In the other men’s quarter-finals, British cynosure Andy Murray will play Fernando Verdasco, Juan Martin Del Potro will meet David Ferrrer and, in something of an exotica for Wimbledon and for tennis, two Poles will face off in the other. Lukasz Kubot and Jerzy Janowicz both won five-setters to get to their appointment, and the lanky Janowicz took up the theme of the day and tournament after outlasting Jurgen Melzer, burying his face in the court not once but twice.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.