Berdych 6-7 5-7 Murray – Playing it safe, footwork and positioning

If Tomas Berdych watches back his defeat to Andy Murray in Paris I suspect he’d be disappointed. I’ve watch highlights of the match over and over again and the questions are just endless. What happened in the tiebreak which he led 6-1 and had 8 set points but lost it is ridiculous but watching him play it felt like he was playing it safe.

Playing it safe

I’ve always Tomas Berdych as a player who goes big or goes home. Sometimes going big can cost you with errors or winners but I was surprised how far inside the tram lines he was hitting the forehand. Watching the performance it looked like a nervous shot selection.

7-7 all in the tie-break we seem he stand off going for the forehand out-wide and down the line. This might be nerves and disbelief that he was 6-1 up and it’s now 7-7 but we can see below the lack of angle he gets on the shot.

b-1

So, the red box shows where the ball bounced, not really asking a question of Murray from there but is Tomas had moved to left a little bit more he could have found the angle as shown with the yellow arrow.

b-2

Same point but a few moments later now. Positionally Berdych is in a good position to go up the line but it’s not close enough to the line. Murray can get to that quite easily, he is already on his bike but did Berdych sell himself too quickly? Look at Murray’s left foot, it’s planted on the ground if he goes cross court then Murray doesn’t have a chance! In both stills shown above if only Tomas had taken that step to the left he could have killed the rally with the forehand cross court.

Positioning

I just touched on positioning with the need for taking the step to the left and now again at the beginning of the second set we see it again.

B3.png

Centre of the court he goes for that forehand again, Murray doesn’t have to break a sweat to get to it but look at Tomas’ position. He produced little power of this but his body suggests otherwise with the follow-through after hitting the forehand.

This is usually a shot which asks questions but it seemed safe against Murray. Playing to the lines is a dangerous game as it is a fine line (no pun intended) between hitting winners and errors but against the new world number one, you can’t play safe! You go big or you go home!

Tomas isn’t down to play in London having not qualified for the tour finals for the first time since 2009 so there will be a lot of work to do next season to make sure he qualifies again. Tomas is a reserve for London and with worries over Milos Raonic’ injury he could still play!

All screenshots credit to SkySports

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