World number seven Tomas Berdych passed a personal milestone on his way to a comfortable straight sets victory over Lleyton Hewitt in the opening match of his US Open campaign. As well as securing his place into the second round at Flushing Meadows by dumping out the 2001 champion, the 6-3 6-4 6-3 win was Berdych’s 100th victory in Grand Slams.
The number sixth seed had been given a tough start to his US Open by drawing Hewitt in the first round but the Czech Republic star never looked in any real danger as he saw off the Australian veteran in two hours 18 minutes in New York. Still looking to win his first Grand Slam title, Berdych’s certainly gave Betfair fans something to think about as the tournament heads into the latter stages.
While Hewitt showed glimpses of the player who has won two Grand Slams during an illustrious career, racing to a 4-1 lead in the second set, Berdych soon regained his focus and took control of the tie by winning 11 of the next 14 games. Four aces and three converted break-points in the third set and the 28-year old was able to start looking at the second round.
“I feel pretty good. It’s a tough opponent, a big challenge. The conditions were extremely tough; the heat, the wind, and facing Lleyton for the first round, it’s nothing that what you really want to have. But when you are prepared and feel good, that’s a perfect start,” Berdych
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the US Open has been Berdych’s least successful Grand Slam. Aside from his semi-final appearance in 2012, Berdych has previously only ever managed to make it to the fourth round at Flushing Meadows. The big-serving Czech star certainly has the game to succeed in the US Open, however, and this could well be the year in which Berdych finally fulfils his potential and win a major title.
The 2010 Wimbledon finalist has undoubtedly been unfortunate to have been around in an era alongside the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. While that’s not to say Berdych won’t ever go on and join that elite group of Grand Slam winners, the 28-year old will be well aware time is running out for him to make that step up. With Nadal absent and Murray struggling with injury, Berdych may never have a better chance to win a Grand Slam than this month in New York.