Kevin Anderson’s seed-dumping run came to an end on Thursday when he went down in straight sets at the BNP Paribas Masters Open in California, writes Mark Etheridge.
Thirty-seventh ranked Anderson had beaten world No4 David Ferrer and 13th ranked Gilles Simon en route to the fourth round. But sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych proved a bridge too far.
The Czech beat our top-ranked singles player 6-4 6-4 in a match lasting 90 minutes. He broke Anderson in the final game of both sets to reach the last four of this tournament for the first time.
Anderson won the battle of the aces 8-5 and also had the better first service percentage (at 65% to 53%) but was still unable to break his duck of not having beaten Berdych in five previous encounters. He did however have the consolation of being the only unseeded player to reach the final eight and this will no doubt reflect on the new rankings due for release on Monday.
Berdych will now play Rafael Nadal who put out defending champion Roger Federer in straight sets in the late game. He’s now reached the final four without dropping a set. “It feels great,” the 27-year-old Czech told the tournament website. “It’s the first Masters of the year, it’s very important for me for the confidence.”
Berdych broke the big-serving South African in the final game of each set to secure the victory in 90 minutes, making it to the final four in the California desert for the first time.
He’ll be gunning for his third final of the year, after runner-up finishes in Marseille and Dubai.