An entertaining clash between towering athletes Tomas Berdych and Kevin Anderson is set to take place in the fourth round of the 2014 Australian Open. Berdych earned entry into the final 16 with a straight sets victory over Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur, while Anderson rallied from a two-set deficit to defeat Roger-Vasselin and set up the clash wit Berdych. The Berdych vs Anderson head-to-head series stands at 9-0 and the Czech player will be looking to extend it to the double digits come Sunday afternoon.
Berdych’s opponent in his third round contest was Bosnian athlete Damir Dzumhur, who made history as the first Bosnian to ever qualify for a Grand Slam main draw. He also picked up consecutive upset wins over Sergiy Stakhovsky and Fernando Verdasco to arrive in his third round clash with Tomas Berydch. The Bosnian appeared hungry and motivated throughout the match, but it was not enough to keep the Czech at bay, as he ultimately won the match in straight sets to advance to his fourth consecutive Round of the 16 match at the Australian Open.
The world No. 7 hit 13 aces and 32 winners against his opponent, who is ranked 181 spots below him in the Emirates ATP Rankings. While it may not have been the most competitive of matches, the Czech No. 1 admit that he the Bosnian is a hungry and talented opponent.
“I think we might see him here for another couple of years,” said Berdych. “He’s very hungry. I think he’s very talented.”
For the second time this week, South Africa’s Kevin Anderson had to rally from a 2-set deficit, to defeat his opponents and advance through the draw. He managed to do so successfully against Jiri Versely in the opening round and once again in his third round match against Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who at one point held match point over the Czech No. 1.
It was a tense moment on court, particularly in the fourth set when Anderson found himself down 0-4 in the tiebreak but managed to save the match point and recover for a 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5), 7-5 victory in a little under four hours on Margaret Court Arena.
“I’m really pleased with the way I’ve just kept my mental fortitude and given myself a chance to get back in these matches,” said Anderson. “Maybe not starting the match exactly as planned, but I think playing three out of five sets, that’s one thing, you do have time. If you can keep going, there’s sometimes a way back. I’ve been able to capitalise on two of those matches so far.”
The head-to-head between the two competitors stands at 9-0 in favour of Berdych, who has dominated their encounters since their first meeting in 2012. This marks the third consecutive year that they meet at the Australian Open and the fifth time in a Grand Slam contest. Their closest encounter was a five set battle at the 2012 French Open, which Berdych still won in a come-from-behind victory 6-4 3-6 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4. Considering Anderson has had to battle through two gruelling five set encounters, he will certainly be the more fatigued player of the two, come Sunday afternoon. This will likely lead to his third straight loss to Berdych at the Australian Open.
Prediction: Tomas Berdych in Four Sets