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By Erik Gudris

Tomas Berdych London 2012 {November 7, 2012) -- In the "every game counts" scenario of the round robin format of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga both knew that their chances of making the semifinals were still very much alive as they faced off in the evening singles session.

While fans were probably hoping Tsonga would dazzle them with his trademark shotmaking style, he proved he can hit as big as anyone as he stayed toe to to with the hard-hitting Berdych during the early games of the first set. Midway through, Tsonga saved three break points against him to finally hold on for a 4-3 lead, but he couldn't serve his way out of trouble again when down 15-40 at 5-all.

Berdych broke for 6-5 and closed out the first set with a ace.

But when it looked like Berdych might just close out the match in straight sets, it was Tsonga who stepped up his game while Berdych wavered while serving at 1-2. Tsonga, who had missed on two previous break point chances, ripped a return Berdych couldn't handle and seized a 3-1 lead. Tsonga stayed aggressive and took the second set 6-3.

The third set provided one more momentum change when Berdych, after saving early break points against him, broke Tsonga thanks to some fine net play from the big Czech to go up 3-1. From there Berdych assumed control and while many in the crowd chanted "Tsonga! Tsonga!" in hopes of inspiring a rally from the Frenchman, it wasn't meant to be as Berdych won 20 of the last 24 points to seal a 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 win.

Berdych's win complicated the scenario as to who who would qualify from Group A despite Novak Djokovic beating Andy Murray in the day session. But at 0-2 now, Tsonga, who made the finals last year, looks very likely to be on his way home early.

Marray/Nielsen Continue Surprising Run

In the doubles match from earlier, Wimbledon champions Jonny Marray and Frederik Nielsen once again proved more than worthy foes against the event's defending champions Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor. After serving for the first set but eventually taking it in a tiebreak, Marray and Nielsen dropped the second set and were forced into a super tiebreak to decide the match.

Nielsen stepped up with some spectacular shotmaking, including a winning backhand crosscourt overhead, and after his team saved one match point, they went on to win 7-6(3), 4-6, 12-10.

Now 2-0 in the event, Marray and Nielsen have automatically qualified for the semifinals.


(Photo Credit: AP/Sang Tan)

 

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