Following an entertaining day of semi-final action, two competitors stand tall in the wake of Saturday night’s contests, as world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Czech No. 1 Tomas Berdych cross paths for the 21st time on the professional tour. Djokovic leads the head-to-head series 18-2 and has not lost to Berdych in nearly two years.
In a blockbuster semi-final encounter, Novak Djokovic was able to outplay Rafael Nadal in a thrilling encounter to edge out a close straight sets victory. Djokovic suffered from a slow start and was down a break early on but rarely faced much trouble from that point onwards. He did pay some impressive, high-quality tennis with his greatest adversary, though. Eventually, he won the match 6-3, 6-3.
“I did have a slower start than he did in the match,” admitted Djokovic. “He started very aggressive, playing good, serving well, having a break point for a double break. I played a good point there. I won a very important game not to allow him to have the advantage of 3-0.”
While many anticipated a more competitive semi-final, Tomas Berdych breezed into the Monte Carlo final for the first time in his career with a straight sets victory against Gael Monfils. He defeated the Frenchman 6-1, 6-4 in a match that lasted just 67 minutes.
“This year is going pretty well,” said Berdych. “It’s going almost the way we set it up. We’re missing a trophy yet as a team and me personally, but it’s another chance tomorrow. I think I’m going to try to put myself [to be] in the best possible position to be ready for it.”
This marks the 21st time that Djokovic and Berdych will meet on the professional tour, with the top seed holding a dominant 18-2 record against his adversary. In 2014, Djokovic demolished Berdych 6-2, 6-0 in the China Open final to hand the Czech his most embarrassing victory ever. He then followed up with 6-2, 6-2 victory at the World Tour Finals to put an emphatic finish to their series for the season. However, this season was a little different: Berdych was able to take a set off Djokovic in their semi-final encounter in Dubai but still managed to lose a bagel set in the process. He could take into consideration that his last victory against the Serb took place on clay at the Rome Masters, but Djokovic is a far different animal on this surface now.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic in Straight Sets