Berdych sets up Nadal final

Czech defeats Novak Djokovic as Rafael Nadal ends Andy Murray's Wimbledon dream.

    Berdych salutes the crowd after reaching his first grand slam final [GALLO/GETTY]

    Big-hitting Tomas Berdych saw off a frustrated Novak Djokovic 6-3 7-6 6-3 to become the first Czech to reach the men's final at Wimbledon since Ivan Lendl in 1987.

    Rafael Nadal will play the Czech after crushing Andy Murray's Wimbledon dream for the second time in three years on Friday to reach his fourth Wimbledon final.

    Twelfth seed Berdych reached his first grand slam final with a murderous display of hitting from the back of the court against the third seed, who showed his frustrations with a code violation during a defeat marked by two costly double faults.

    "The feeling is amazing, to reach another victory over another great player, Novak Djokovic, in straight sets, it's amazing," the 24-year-old, who beat Roger Federer in the quarter-finals, told a courtside interviewer.

    "I think (for) every young kid who first time hits the ball, this is the dream to be in the final of any grand slam. And if you can do it at Wimbledon it's amazing. It's definitely the biggest tournament for me. It couldn't be better."

    Berdych had lost their previous two matches in straight sets but the elegant right-hander comfortably took the opener on Centre Court in 33 minutes, with the help of some wayward Djokovic groundsstrokes.


    The imposing 1.96 metres Czech, ranked 13th in the world, broke in the sixth game and later sealed the set with a superb low cross-court forehand that left the Serb ruefully shaking his head as he headed to his chair.

    Berdych, who got tongues wagging with an impressive run to the French Open semi-finals this year, produced the shock of the tournament when he out-muscled six-times champion Federer.

    In the late match Spanish world number one Nadal seized on the few opportunities Murray offered up in a compelling contest to win 6-4 7-6 6-4 and go through to Sunday's showpiece.

    Britain's wait for a first men's champion at the All England Club since Fred Perry's 1936 title will go on for another year although little blame could be attached to Murray who matched the 2008 champion blow for blow.

    Only when Nadal broke back to level the third set at 4-4 did fourth seed Murray's resolve finally crack and two games later he blazed a volley over the baseline to send Nadal flat on his back in celebration.

    "It was a very, very good match for me," the 24-year-old Nadal, who was unable to defend his title last year because of injury, said on court after consoling his crestfallen opponent.

    "To beat him you have to play your best tennis because he is one of the toughest opponents in the world."


    Serena Williams may have preferred the devil she knows in the women's singles final on Saturday, but sister Venus is out, and the defending champion knows only her best will be good enough against the wily Vera Zvonareva.

    With Venus gone in the quarter-finals, and with her the prospects of a fifth all-Williams final, Serena never looked in danger of dashing through the draw and booking her sixth appearance in the showpiece match on Saturday.

    "I feel like I would almost rather play her (Venus) because at least I know for certain one of us is gonna win something and take something home. But now it's a 50/50 chance," Williams said.

    But for all her yearning for a Williams victory, Serena was well aware of the challenge presented by the Russian, at 21 the second-lowest ranked player to appear in the women's final at the All England Club.

    "I don't think she does anything terrible. I think that's the best way to describe her game, she does everything so good," 12-times grand slam winner Williams said.

    "It's tough playing a player like that who doesn't really have one weakness and everything pretty much is a strength from her forehand to her backhand to her movement."

    In a Wimbledon full of surprises, with men's champion Roger Federer also departing early, world number one Williams has at least stuck to the script, powering her way through the draw without dropping a set and battering down a record 80 aces in the process.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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