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LONDON (Reuters) - Czech Tomas Berdych said he was facing "mission impossible" after being on the end of a 6-1 6-1 thrashing by Stanislas Wawrinka at the ATP World Tour Finals on Monday.
Fall guy Berdych lasted only 58 minutes on the O2 Center Court as he slipped to the heaviest defeat at the elite year-end tournament since it arrived in London in 2009.
The 29-year-old will now almost certainly have to beat world number one Novak Djokovic, and U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic, to have any chance of reaching the semi-finals.
"I'm in the worst possible situation that I can ever be," Berdych told reporters. "I'm going to face Marin or Novak and the only chance to qualify is to beat them, it's almost a mission impossible."
Berdych, a semi-finalist in London three years ago, can take some comfort from the fact that the previous four times he has qualified for the tournament, he also lost his opening match.
His record in his second round-robin match is 4-0 though.
"I've just got to come up with some better tennis," he said.
"Unfortunately, it was my worst match of the whole season today, and I kept it for the start here in the World Tour Finals. So that's not the best one at the start."
Berdych was a point away from losing the first set without disturbing the scoreboard but managed to serve an ace to prolong the opener to 25 minutes.
The early games of the second set were a little more competitive but his resistance crumbled again when an inspired Wawrinka broke in the third game.
"My game is about hitting the ball nice, clean, then you can create something," said the former Wimbledon runner-up. "But I didn't have that today. I hit so many frames."
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Rex Gowar