Having survived a five set thriller last Sunday night, Novak Djokovic’s quest for a semi-final birth at the Australian Open doesn’t get any easier as he faces the in-form Tomas Berdych tonight. Join us for live scores and commentary from 7:30pm AEDT.
Djokovic had to really dig deep against Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round, coming back from a break down in the fifth set to register victory in just over five hours.
The world no.1 was pushed to his limits by Wawrinka, who showcased tremendous firepower from the forehand and backhand side throughout the contest.
Berdych will have no doubt taken plenty of positives from Wawrinka’s play, and will intend to apply the same sort of aggression that nearly led to Djokovic’s downfall in the fourth round.
The Serb showcased tremendous defensive skills yet again to get out of trouble against Wawrinka and may need to repeat the dose against the equally dangerous Berdych.
Berdych has only defeated Djokovic once in 11 meetings but the Czech world no.6 will still fancy his chances of causing the upset tonight.
Despite the lop sided head to head record, Berdych and Djokovic have only met twice at Grand Slam level, with both players sharing a victory each.
Berdych defeated Djokovic at the 2010 Wimbledon championships in straight sets before Djokovic got his revenge by crushing the Czech star in straight sets at the 2011 Australian Open.
Tonight’s contest promises to be a closely fought affair between two players who are no strangers to reaching the latter stages of Grand Slams.
Berdych is yet to drop a set at this year’s Australian Open, and is more than capable of beating the very best when it counts, as evidenced by his four set win over Roger Federer at the US Open last year.
The former Wimbledon finalist possesses a great serve coupled with an ability to hit deep flat groundstrokes off both the forehand and backhand side.
If Berdych can take a leaf out of Wawrinka’s book and keep Djokovic pinned deep outside the baseline, then he will give himself an almighty chance of causing the upset.
Having been bullied by Wawrinka however, expect Djokovic to come out all guns blazing in an attempt to blow Berdych off the park early.
The reigning Australian Open champion will be keen to showcase his best form after starting poorly against Wawrinka the other night.
Djokovic’s unforced error count will most likely be at a minimum tonight as he aims to improve on his fourth round performance.
With this in mind, expect Djokovic to raise his game tonight and secure victory in four tightly contested sets.
Djokovic in four sets.