Relentless Wawrinka blasts his way past Berdych

Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka in action against Czech Republic's Tomas BerdychSwitzerland's Stan Wawrinka in action against Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych
Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka in action against Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych
Stan Wawrinka put a poor run of form behind him in spectacular fashion as he opened his ATP World Tour Finals account by thrashing Tomas Berdych.

Wawrinka had won only one match since the US Open as a season that began with his stunning Australian Open triumph threatened to end with a whimper.

But he raced out of the blocks at London’s O2 Arena and an off-key Berdych had no answer, with third seed Wawrinka winning 6-1 6-1 in only 58 minutes.

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It was the most one-sided match since the tournament moved to London in 2009.

The result maintains Berdych’s unwanted record of never having won his opening match at the tournament, and he failed to hit a single winner off the ground.

He made a terrible start, winning just five points in the first five games, none of which he won, leaving him staring at his racket in bewilderment.

He did at least avoid a love set, saving a set point with an ace, but Wawrinka wrapped it up in 25 minutes, matching his countryman Roger Federer’s performance against Milos Raonic on Sunday.

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But, while Federer found life much tougher in the second set, Wawrinka continued to put Berdych to the sword.

A backhand onto the line gave him the first break for 2-1 and, after only 55 minutes, Berdych found himself serving to stay in the match, a challenge that proved beyond him.

One consolation for the Czech is he has won his second round-robin match on each previous visit to the O2, but only once has that been good enough to see him through to the last four.

Wawrinka, meanwhile, is already in a great position to emulate his run last year, when he reached the semi-finals on his debut.

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Wawrinka felt the performance had been coming, saying: “I didn’t expect to win that easy in the score, for sure. But I was ready to play well.

“I did a great week of preparation. I have been working really, really hard for a few weeks with (coach) Magnus (Norman). Even if the results weren’t there in Basle and Paris, I was feeling the ball really well at the practice court.

“(Yesterday), the start of the match was really important. That changed completely the match after.”

Berdych pulled no punches in assessing his own performance and described trying to reach the last four as “almost mission impossible”.

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The Czech said: “Unfortunately it was my worst match of the whole season.

“But there are days like that. Now it’s over. It’s just a matter of looking forward, trying to find a way for the next few days. Just try to leave this somewhere very far and try to come up with some better tennis.”

Berdych, who now faces probably having to beat both Marin Cilic and Novak Djokovic to have a chance of finishing in the top two in Group A, revealed he has shelved the idea of being coached by Andy Murray’s erstwhile mentor Ivan Lendl.

Berdych has made no secret of the fact it is something he would like to do but, after Lendl rejected the idea last month, he is ready to move on.

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“I think working with him, that’s over for now definitely,” said Berdych. “I don’t know what has to be the change to change his mind. But it’s how it is.

“I just respect his decisions. But you always have to look forward and keep moving.”