Berdych set to stop Federer registering win number 801
Given the phenomenal year enjoyed by Novak Djokovic, pushed all the way by the ever-competitive Rafa Nadal, plus Andy Murray’s rise in the world rankings to number three, one could forgive Roger Federer for feeling like yesterday’s man.
It was only a few years ago that many in the game were discussing the Swiss as possibly the greatest tennis player of all time.
It says much about the strength of the men’s game in this era that already there are current players queueing up to contest the same title.
But today at the Paris Masters, it is once again Federer – a man with 68 career titles to his name – who finds himself the centre of attention.
With Djokovic pulling out with injury, Nadal not making the trip to the French capital and Murray crashing out at the quarter-final stage, Federer will be keen to progress to what is remarkably the only ATP World Tour 1000 tournament final that he has never appeared in.
And he is in good nick. Yesterday he registered his 800th career win with a straight-sets victory over Argentina’s Juan Monaco, while last week he ended a ten-month tournament drought by dropping only one set en route to victory at his native Swiss Indoors event in Basel.
But there’s little chance of complacency creeping in to Federer’s mindset, particularly as his opponent today comes in the imposing form of Tomas Berdych.
The 6ft 5in Czech came from a set down to knock out an in-form Andy Murray yesterday 4-6 7-6 6-4, and while Federer leads 9-4 in career head-to-heads, Berdych has won three of the pair’s last four meetings.
Last time in Cincinnati, in August, Berdych won in straight sets, and with a recent ATP tournament victory of his own – in Beijing in October – he is unlikely to be daunted at the prospect of facing a Federer now past his prime.
At 5/2 to win the game, the fifth-seed Czech looks healthily priced, while more confident backers might also fancy the 5/1 for a 2-0 victory.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (4/9) and American John Isner (7/5) contest the other semi-final in Paris.