Paris Masters - Fabulous Federer outguns Berdych

Sat, 12 Nov 19:10:00 2011

Roger Federer was at his brilliant best to move within one win of his first Paris Masters title with a 6-4 6-3 semi-final victory over Tomas Berdych.

Roger Federer - 0

The former world number one - currently ranked fourth in the standings - is chasing back-to-back titles after winning indoors in his home town of Basel last week.

He will start as a warm favourite to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who saved three match points in downing American John Isner 3-6 7-6 (7-1) 7-6 (7-3) in a semi-final that ran for two hours and 58 minutes.

"I am very happy to have made the final," said Federer. "I am very happy with my level of play at the moment. I had six weeks off (after the US Open), and that has been very good for my mind and my body.

"I look at the big picture. The ranking system is 365 days. It is all year round. I am not 20 and I can't play seven straight weeks and expect to win in Paris. I was carrying a few injuries, but the rest has been good. I'm very hungry and aggressive (on the court)."

The slow speed of the courts in Paris have been criticised by several players, but Federer is content. He added: "I think the conditions here are a bit tricky. It takes some getting used to it, but now I'm in the tournament I try to play aggressively."

He gave Berdych short shrift only a day after the Czech player had recovered from a set down to oust Andy Murray in the quarter-finals in just over three hours.

Berdych feels that Federer is back to his best. He said: "I would say, and I'm pretty confident to say, that that's the old Roger. You know, the years that he was really winning everything. We can count the unforced errors that he hit, like maybe, on the fingers on one hand, which is incredible. He started every set really great and just didn't give me any chance at all."

Federer had taken a scattergun approach while almost playing in second gear to defeat Juan Monaco in the last eight, but was brimming with his trademark pinpoint accuracy less than 24 hours later in the French capital's Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy.

Federer swarmed all his opponent after breaking Berdych in the opening game of the first set before repeating the dose in the opening game of the second set.

He was never broken or forced to face a break point in the match as his sliced backhand and dynamic forehand forced Berdych to spend much of the match on the baseline.

At the end, Federer cut an altogether fresher figure than his opponent such was his ability to dictate the pace and tone of the contest.

Federer blew five match points in losing to Gael Monfils at the same stage 12 months ago, but there was to be no repeat as he cleared his path to the final in 80 minutes. He will contest a first Paris final in his ninth appearance at the tournament.

Federer finished off the match by breaking the 2010 Wimbledon finalist to love to see out as one-sided contest as you are likely to come across at this level.

Federer was ahead in all of the major statistics hitting 34 winners compared to 16 by Berdych. He made 13 unforced errors compared to 20 by his opponent and won a mammoth 91 percent of points on first serve as the Paris crowd were left drooling by the quality of Federer's tennis.

Desmond Kane - on Twitter @DesmondKane / Eurosport

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