It’s better late than never for perennial Top 10er Tomas Berdych as the Czech captured his first title of the year on Sunday, defeating Richard Gasquet 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 6-3 for the Shenzhen Open title in China.
It improved Berdych’s chances of qualifying for a seven consecutive ATP year-end championships. He sits at ninth in the 2016-only point standings.
“Five weeks ago I was in hospital, now I’m sitting here with the trophy,” said Berdych, who missed the US Open due to an appendicitis. “Things are changing very quickly. Luckily for me, everything is going well, I’m feeling good, sitting here as a winner. I’m just taking all this as a bonus, that I can play and win some matches.”
For the 31-year-old its a first title since 2015 Stockholm, improving to 13-17 in career finals. The Czech, who was the top seed, has won almost a third of his career titles in Asia.
In the third set Berdych broke Gasquet for a 4-2 lead, and closed it out when serving for the match for a second time after the second set.
“I said after the semifinal that I wanted to raise my game and play better and I think I achieved that against a tougher opponent,” he said. “I’m very pleased with the way I played.
“The two match points [in the second set] were very tough. He served aces so I couldn’t do anything about that. He started playing very well and deserved to win the second set. I had to battle for the win and sometimes that happens.”
Gasquet fell to 1-1 in finals this year and 13-13 career.
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