Outsider Berdych still knocking on door 10 years on

Mon May 25, 2015 9:42am EDT
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By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Tomas Berdych has been seeded in grand slams for 10 years, yet the Czech, ranked fourth at the French Open, is rarely discussed as a potential champion.

Hardly helped by the era in which is playing in, Berdych has reached only one grand slam final, at Wimbledon in 2010, but has been ever-present in the world's top 10 for five years.

After being drawn in the "weaker" bottom half of the draw here in the French capital, Berdych may sense a chance to give himself another shot at a final.

He made his ranking tell on Monday in a 6-0 7-5 6-3 thrashing of Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka, who could do nothing to stop a player who warmed up for Roland Garros by reaching at least the last eight in the Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome Masters.

"I'm feeling generally quite happy and quite good about my tennis... everything is going smoothly so far," Berdych, who is seeded among the top four of a grand slam for the first time, told a news conference.

Berdych, who is on a quarter-final collision course with another Japanese in fifth seed Kei Nishikori, will next face compatriot Radek Stepanek.

Asked why he was not being more fancied despite his ranking, a regular question for Berdych in recent years, he had a simple answer.

"There is the fact that there are other guys who have grand slam titles and I don't have," he said.   Continued...

Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic plays a shot to Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan during their men's singles match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, May 25, 2015.  REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol