Federer broke in the third game of the first set as Berdych netted a forehand, but he lost his own service game immediately thereafter with similarly sloppy play off the same wing.
The Swiss was broken again when a poor second serve sat up nicely for his 28-year-old opponent, whose forceful return could only be directed back into the net by Federer.
Berdych thus had the initial impetus and he kept that momentum for the remainder of the opener, winning it with a characteristically strong serve to Federer’s backhand that meekly found the net.
The Rotterdam Open winner then looked to be honing in on his second tournament win in succession as another wayward Federer forehand coughed up another break of service.
However, just as Federer’s challenge looked to be cruelly falling short at the final hurdle, he retaliated with two breaks to force a crunch third-set decider; Berdych’s backhand and forehand misfiring at the crucial moments respectively.
Another long Berdych forehand in the fourth game there handed the perennial winner and all-time record holder here a two-game cushion and he didn’t look back from that point on.
Berdych’s failure to capitalise on some crucial break point opportunities in the seventh game perhaps adversely affected his service game in the subsequent eighth as Federer scented victory.
He still staved off two championship points to make Federer serve for the half dozen, which he did with typical aplomb to close it out 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 58 minutes… see more