at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Melbourne – Tomas Berdych was left cursing his repeated failure in Grand Slam Thursday as he narrowly missed out on reaching his first Australian Open final after defeat to Stanislas Wawrinka.
The big-serving Czech seventh seed bungled two tiebreaks, including the match-clincher in the fourth set, as Wawrinka reached his first Grand Slam final 6-3, 6-7 (1/7), 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4).
It was just the latest in a sorry run of Grand Slam tiebreak failures during his defeats last year at the US Open, Wimbledon and the French Open.
“I'm starting to get quite annoyed with losing matches in tiebreaks,” he admitted. “I'm not very good at that. I can give you quite a few examples of losing matches in tiebreaks. I need to improve that, definitely.”
Berdych, 28, lost a tiebreaker during his four-set loss to Wawrinka at last year's US Open. He lost another to Novak Djokovic en route to his quarter-finals exit at Wimbledon, and also in his first-round defeat to Gael Monfils at the French Open.
He was bidding to make his second Grand Slam final after losing to Rafael Nadal in the 2010 Wimbledon final, and instead it will be Wawrinka who will play either Nadal or Roger Federer in Sunday's decider.
Little separated the two with Wawrinka shading Berdych by one point 143-142 overall in the match and the Swiss grabbing the only service break in a nip-and-tuck contest.
In the end the semi-final was decided on tiebreakers, and Berdych fluffed his chances with a total of three double-faults in the final two tiebreakers to give Wawrinka the edge.
“The match was extremely even and it was really so close,” he said. “It's really hard to find what could be the difference. I mean, we both played great. We played a good match.
“It's been by one point and one break. Stan was the one who just took it, and that's it.” – Sapa-AFP