Tomas Berdych defeated third-seeded Novak Djokovic in straight sets at Wimbledon to reach his first Grand Slam tennis final.
The 24-year-old Berdych, seeded 12th, beat Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 (11-9), 6-3. He’s the first Czech to reach the final since Ivan Lendl 23 years ago, and will face either Andy Murray of Britain or Rafael Nadal of Spain, who play in the other semifinal today.
“The feeling is absolutely amazing,” Berdych said in a televised interview on the British Broadcasting Corp. “Another victory, over Novak Djokovic, who is a great player.”
Berdych was a semifinalist at the French Open last month and reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2007. He beat defending champion and top-seeded Roger Federer in the quarterfinals two days ago.
Today’s match on Centre Court hinged on the second set, when the players traded break points and each had set points. They held serve until 5-5, when Berdych got three break points. Djokovic, 23, saved one but missed an overhead smash to give the game to Berdych. He then broke back in the next game with a sliding forehand.
In the tiebreaker, Djokovic was down 5-2, went for a big second serve, and missed. Berdych wasn’t able to convert either of his serves, making it 6-5. After a 21-shot rally, Djokovic’s defensive lob was ruled out, but the call was overturned. The Serb won the replay to even the tiebreaker, and then the players traded set points. Djokovic double-faulted to lose the set, hitting his chair with his racket and getting a warning from the umpire.
In the final set, Djokovic was able to trade games until 4-3, when he tried to hit big second serves and missed, giving the Czech the break. Berdych held serve and was on his way to the final, where he said he yearned to be as a child.
“This is the dream,” Berdych said.