Novak Djokovic will be wary of one of the form players in men’s tennis when he meets surprise semi-finalist Tomas Berdych in the first match on Centre Court today.
The 24-year-old Berdych has yet to play in a grand slam final but he is enjoying his best season and has made his seventh visit to Wimbledon his best yet.
The world number 13 made a significant breakthrough by reaching the semi-finals of the recent French Open and signalled his arrival on the big stage by knocking Roger Federer out of Wimbledon on Wednesday.
“He’s played semis of the French Open and he’s got some great results in the last couple of months,” admitted Djokovic. “So he’s one of the toughest players to play against lately.
“I’m going to have to be patient and wait for the chances. Obviously, we’re both going to have great motivation to get to the final. For him, that would be a first final.”
Berdych failed to take a set off Djokovic in either of their two previous matches but they have not played each other for more than a year and today’s meeting is their first on grass, the surface on which the Czech number one has found his groove this past 10 days.
If Berdych is to set up a final duel with Andy Murray or world number one Rafael Nadal on Sunday, he must succeed where compatriot Petra Kvitova failed.
The 20-year-old from Fulnek lost in straight sets in the second women’s semi-final to Serena Williams but is confident Berdych can keep the Czech flag flying at the All England Club.
“Of course he can win,” she said. “I know he’s playing very well now so I believe that he can win the semi-final.”