ATP Tour

Berdych wins Rotterdam title

Tomas Berdych (AFP)
Tomas Berdych (AFP)

Rotterdam - Tomas Berdych has buried a title drought lasting nearly a year and a half as he defeated Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday to win the Rotterdam World Tennis.

The Czech third seed, ranked seventh in the world, handed Croatia's unseeded Cilic his first loss after nine straight wins which took him to the Zagreb title a week ago.

It was the ninth career title for the new champion, off to his best season start with a 12-2 record.

Berdych had not earned an ATP trophy since Stockholm, October, 2012, 16 months ago.

He suffered through 2013 as the only player in the top 10 not to win a title, losing finals in Marseille, Dubai and Bangkok.

"This is a nice trophy to bring home," said the winner.

"Marin played a good match and has had a great two weeks. but there can only be one winner.... He did beat two guys in the top 10 (Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Andy Murray).

"I thought of the final as just another match. You need to approach every match the same, every single time. That's the way I try to do. I made a game plan and went for it.

"Everyone wants to win titles, but the best way to do that is to play solid and consistent over our long 10-month season.

"Even if I had not won in so long, I feel it is better to play well every week rather then take a title and then let your level drop."

The victory in 75 minutes lifted Berdych to 5-2 over the 37th-ranked Cilic, a former top ten player who served a ban last year over a technical anti-doping infraction.

Berdych is the first Czech to win the Rotterdam honours since his Davis Cup teammate Radek Stepanek eight years ago.

Berdych overcame early bad luck, missing on two Hawk-Eye electronic challenges and replaying a point after a ball went dead.

Berdych stayed on top of his game with a break of Cilic for 2-1, taking the first set in 45 minutes.

The seed seized control with a break to start the second set as a Cilic backhand flew long. A fourth double-fault from Cilic handed over another break for 5-2, with Berdych finishing off the contest a game later on his first match point.

Berdych lifted the title after losing serve only once this week, in the quarter-final against Jerzy Janowicz.

He is due to play Marseille next week followed by Dubai.

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