Dubai Open: Tomas Berdych survives but calls for rule change

Berdych emerged both relieved and disgruntled after surviving 7-5, 6-1 against the world number 90, which carried him laboriously into the quarter-finals of the tournament.

Updated: February 27, 2013 21:31 IST
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Dubai: World number six Tomas Berdych on Wednesday overcame jet-lag, an umpire's warning and a difficult first set against tenacious German Tobias Kamke at the Dubai Open before calling for changes to the time limit rule.

Berdych emerged both relieved and disgruntled after surviving 7-5, 6-1 against the world number 90, which carried him laboriously into the quarter-finals of the tournament.

The Czech contested the Marseille final 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometres) away on Sunday and struggled in the first set, saving 12 break points, dropping serve twice and three times being within one blow of being taken to a tie-break.

With Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, his Marseille conqueror, having been similarly jaded during a first round loss to Michael Llodra, there was a distinct sense that Berdych was in danger from multiple pressures.

One of them was the new 25-second time rule, which reduces by five seconds the permitted pause between rallies, and which annoyed Berdych when it was imposed on him during his most difficult moments.

"I don't like it. I'm not a fan of it. I don't see any single reason why to have this rule," he said. "What could be positive on this? What could work? What could be advantage?"

The conventional answer is improving the situation for spectators by speeding up the game, which has on average had only 20 minutes in an hour when there is action.

Berdych, though, was sardonic about his transgressions.

"I get like a six or seven (warnings) in Chennai and then I did not get one in Marseille and now I just get only warning. So I'm improving," he said dryly.

Berdych's criticisms were directed also towards arbitrary impositions of the rule.

"It should be more clear what's going on, because the referee has so much power on you," he claimed.

"He can do whatever he wants. If you have like 25 (seconds) and he has a bad day, or he doesn't like you, it's 24 and you go.

"I mean, it's so simple. Let's put the clock there and then everybody goes by the clock. Simple as that if they want to go straight."

Berdych also found it hard to continue adapting from indoor courts in Europe to the warm sun and wind in the Gulf. He tried to compensate by focusing hard and tried to take pleasure merely in making it to the last eight.

There he will play the winner of Llodra and Dmitry Tursunov, the wild card entry from Russia.

Another Russian, Nikolay Davydenko, the former world number three who ousted the sixth seeded Janko Tipsarevic, reached the quarter-finals with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) victory over Victor Hanescu, of Romania but a third, Mikhail Youzhny, was beaten.

His conqueror was Daniel Brands, six-feet five inches (1.95m) tall, with an imposing net game and ambitions to become a regular on the main tour, who upset the seedings in the Arabian Gulf for the second time this year.

Last month the studious-looking German qualifier beat Gael Monfils and Jeremy Chardy to reach the Qatar Open semi-finals; now his 6-4, 6-4 win came over an eighth-seeded opponent who has twice been a former finalist.

Brands now plays Juan Martin del Potro, the fourth-seeded former US Open champion from Argentina, whose 6-4, 6-4 win over Somdev Devvarman, the Indian returning after many months out with injury, received rather modest acclaim.

However his ensuing "match" with his compatriot Diego Maradona, the footballing legend who is in Dubai on ambassadorial duties, was received as if del Potro had scored at the Bombonera stadium, home of the footballer's former club Boca Juniors.

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  • Tennis
  • Tomas Berdych
  • Radek Stepanek
  • Caroline Wozniacki
  • Guillaume Rufin
  • Kevin Anderson
  • Tobias Kamke
  • Andy Murray
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

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