Still more to come from surprise men's finalist Berdych

TOMAS BERDYCH gave himself "eight or nine" out of 10 for his performance in his semi-final win over Novak Djokovic but will be looking for yet more improvement in tomorrow's Wimbledon final.

The 24-year-old 12th seed showed his giant-killing act against Roger Federer was no fluke by overpowering his Serbian opponent 6-3 7-6 (11/9) 6-3 to reach his maiden grand slam final.

The world No 13 was watched by his father Martin and mother Hana, who flew in from the Czech Republic for yesterday's match, as he became the first Czech finalist since Ivan Lendl in 1987.

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Djokovic, whose run to the semi-finals enabled him to overtake Federer in the rankings, was competitive in the first set and had a glorious chance to level matters in a dramatic second set which tested the mental strength of both men.

The Czech served at 6-5 for a two-set lead only to drop his serve for just the sixth time in the Championships, and then re-asserted himself to lead 6-2 in the tie-break.

Amazingly, Berdych squandered five set points and Djokovic had two of his own before bringing the tie-break to a sudden and anti-climactic end with a double fault.

The Serbian, who was hoping to mark the occasion with the 300th win of his career, never recovered from that setback as he quickly subsided to his 99th defeat. Berdych had done enough to win and, asked to award himself marks out of 10, left some room for improvement.

"At least it's going to be eight or nine," he said. "I didn't play best tennis but I was playing what I needed to finish it in three sets. That's important. It shouldn't have gone to the tie-break because I was serving to close the set. I just made a couple of mistakes and lost my serve.

"Then again I had 6-3 up and gave some set points to Novak. I just made it a little more complicated. Finally I just made it on my side and then he started to be really, really down, I think more mentally than physically."

He has brought plenty of confidence into Wimbledon and, after going one step further than at the French Open, will now seek to become the first Czech winner since Jan Kodes, who triumphed in the strike-hit year of 1973.