Berdych stays alive as Tsonga crumbles
Tomas Berdych beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5 3-6 6-1 in a Group A slugfest at the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2, London.
The Czech fifth seed, who realistically needed to win to keep his semi-final hopes alive, took the first set with a late break and hold, before Tsonga launched a fightback as the two big-hitters traded blows in an error-strewn match.
Having forced a decider though, the notoriously fragile Tsonga collapsed, making a string of errors to be broken at 3-1 in the third, before barely winning any points as Berdych cleaned up en route to victory.
The result means Novak Djokovic has to wait until after Friday’s matches to see if he has reached the semi-finals as, if he loses to Berdych and Andy Murray beats Tsonga, it will come down to the number of games won to decide the two qualifiers.
Indeed, while their serving was decent enough, both men made errors with groundstrokes while Tsonga only once displayed his instinctive net play while breaking Berych in the second, his backhand-forehand switch the only real highlight of the evening.
Indeed, the Frenchman - who also disappointed in his loss to Djokovic on Monday - mostly showed the topsy-turvy side to his mental game in the decider, losing more than 80 per cent of the points in the last three games as he shrugged his way to defeat.
Last year’s beaten finalist can still progress with a win over Murray, provided Djokovic beats Berdych, but on the showing of his last two matches it would be barely deserved.
1-Novak Djokovic (Serbia) beat 3-Andy Murray (Britain) 6-4 3-6 5-7
5-Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) beat 7-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) 5-7 6-3 1-6