After coming up just short to Ivan Ljubicic in the finals at Indian Wells a few weeks ago, some wondered if Andy Roddick missed his best chance in over four years to claim a ATP Masters 1000 shield. With a packed field for the Sony Ericsson Open at Miami and with the usual letdown for those who do well at Indian Wells have had in the past, the odds were not good for the American.
But with his stunning win over Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and his 7-5, 6-4 win today in the finals over another resurgent player, Tomas Berdych, Roddick not only earned his best title win since Cincinnati in 2006, but proved he is definitely in the mix for another Grand Slam title for 2010.
Despite coming into the match with a 2-5 lifetime win/loss record against Roddick, Berdych had a lot of confidence after his stellar run of victories over Roger Federer, Fernando Verdasco and Robin Soderling. If he was going to win his biggest title ever, Berdych’s first serve would have to be on. But today, it wasn’t. He only served 46 percent first serves for the match allowing Roddick plenty of looks at the return. Roddick served well as expected, but it was Roddick’s second serve that troubled Berdych all day long with Roddick winning an impressive 70 percent of second serve points.
Roddick and Berdych stayed tight with one another in the first set but it was a loose game from both players at 5-5 that saw Berdych finally give his service game away after he hit a forehand long. Roddick closed out the set and then Berdych, probably feeling the letdown of losing the first set, shanked another forehand to give Roddick the early break in the second set. Berdych did find his first serve again late in the set forcing Roddick to hold serve throughout, but Berdych never really did much to threaten Roddick who did not face a break point all match.
Roddick mixed up his game as he did with Nadal by hitting his forehands flat and serving and volleying at key moments. To his credit, Berdych did save two match points on his service game but it wasn’t enough as Roddick won his third match point by serving and volleying again, forcing an error from Berdych.
For the year, Roddick’s match record, the best on the tour, improves to 26-4. He will also move up to No. 7 in the ATP rankings Monday while Berdych will jump up to No. 16.
After the match, Roddick summed up the tournament by saying,”Obviously it’s a big title for me. I felt a little bit of pressure to win this one because I had a pretty good opportunity in Indian Wells and didn’t come through there. But I think just the last month has been real good for me. I’ve played well on the big moments. Haven’t had an off day mentally. I’ve been able to execute. I’ve been able to have a game plan and execute it regardless of what kind of shots it takes. So it’s all good. It’s all encouraging.”
Watch the video highlights here.