Mon, Oct 10, 2011 - Page 19 News List

Berdych beats Cilic, smog in Beijing

AFP and REUTERS, BEIJING

The Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych returns the ball to Croatia’s Marin Cilic in the men’s singles final at the China Open in Beijing, China, yesterday.

Photo: EPA

Czech Tomas Berdych came back from one set down to overhaul Croatia’s Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, in the men’s final of the ATP-WTA China Open yesterday, winning his first title since spring 2009.

In the women’s final, Polish 11th seed Agnieszka Radwanska defeated German ninth seed Andrea Petkovic 7-5, 0-6, 6-4 under smoggy conditions in the capital.

The victory lifts 10th-ranked Berdych past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to No. 7 in the ATP world standings.

It was the third-seeded Berdych’s first final of the season after losing in six semi-finals and his first ATP title since Munich in 2009. The Czech said his goal this year has been to find consistency and hoped Beijing could set him in the right direction.

Unseeded Cilic had appeared to be in command in the first set, but was eventually beaten by Berdych’s strong serve and consistent play in the second and third sets.

Cilic has been without a trophy since February last year, at home in Zagreb. He has now lost four straight finals since then.

The Croatian sprinted away with the first set, claiming it with his fourth ace, but the setback seemed to inspire Berdych, who leveled at one set apiece despite losing an early second-set break that he got back in the final game.

In the third set, the Czech completed the victory, as Cilic’s attacking game was nowhere to be found. Berdych took the sixth ATP title of his career on 15 winners and 22 unforced errors.

Cilic had used his big serve with success all week in Beijing and fired down seven aces in the final, but Berdych matched him with the same number.

Both players dripped sweat in the unseasonably humid Beijing autumn weather and the problems were compounded by a pall of smog enveloping the National Tennis Center. The air quality monitor at the US embassy in Beijing recorded “hazardous” levels throughout the final day of competition.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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