By John Delong
Breakfast at Wimbledon?
How about Break Fest at the Winston-Salem Open?
That was the story on Friday night as second-seeded Tomas Berdych beat Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-3 to advance to Saturday’s finals against John Isner.
In a match that saw eight breaks of serve, Berdych created 18 break point opportunities and converted five of them, as he rallied after being down a break in both sets.
Afterward, the World No. 7 was quick to say that he was surprised at how the match unfolded with so many breaks, especially since Querrey is known for having one of the best serves on the ATP World Tour.
"It is unusual," Berdych said. "I can play with someone that is not serving as well as Sam and some of the other guys, and I’m struggling to break them for two, three sets, maybe he has service with more slice, spin. But somehow you play with a player and you have a feeling and you know a little bit how to read his serve and it just makes it all of a sudden much more easier. That’s probably what it is when I play Sam."
Berdych came to the Winston-Salem Open as a last-minute wildcard entry. He beat Alex Bogomolov Jr., Jarkko Nieminen and Steve Darcis in previous rounds.
"So far, so good," Berdych said. "The mission is still open. There is still one more to go which is tomorrow. But the week is going well so far. I keep winning matches, and I think every player likes that. So it’s probably the best week I can have before the Open."
Berdych broke Querrey on Querrey’s final two service games to win the first set, then did the same thing in the second set. Querrey had 18 aces, but won just 11 of his 40 second serve points.
"I played some decent return games," Querrey said. "I broke him a few times. But on my service games, I was throwing in double faults, a couple of easy forehands, and just giving him too many easy breaks on my game points. That makes it tough. I just kinda gave it to him."
Querrey and Berdych both agreed that returning service against Isner will be the key to Saturday’s finals. Berdych owns a 2-1 edge over Isner in previous matches, with Berdych winning twice on clay at Roland Garros and Dusseldorf in 2010 and Isner winning on a hardcourt at Washington in 2009.
"It’s definitely going to be the key to the match, the decider for sure," Berdych said. "I think we play three times. He beat me in Washington, but I beat him twice. Actually in those two matches I was quite successful with breaking his serve. I played him in the French Open and I broke him seven times in one match. It was on clay, it was a couple years ago, so we’ll see what’s going to happen. He’s playing at home, he wants to win as bad as me, so we’ll see. It should be a close match."
"Tomorrow’s going to be tough," Querrey said. "With John serving the way he is, it’s going to be tough for Tomas to break him. But he’s a good returner. I think John, if he can step on some of Tomas’ second serves and put on some pressure, I think he’s got a good chance tomorrow."