GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: Apart from Tomas Berdych being taken to four sets by Henri Laaksonen in their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas encounter, day one in Geneva went according to the form book as Switzerland and Czech Republic shared the spoils.
Stanislas Wawrinka gave Switzerland a winning start to this tie, defeating the unpredictable Lukas Rosol in straight sets, 64 63 64.
Berdych then appeared set for a comfortable victory over Laaksonen, after taking the first two sets with ease.
But the 20-year-old, who had previously played just one Davis Cup tie – for Finland – found a new gear. Urged on by a boisterous crowd, the youngster ruffled the Czech maestro as he snatched the third set on the tie-break.
Keen to put Laaksonen back in his place, Berdych reacted in predictable fashion to storm through the fourth set for victory, 63 62 67(5) 61.
Berdych said: “I started solid the first two sets and was controlling the game, and then I had two break points in the first game of the third set but he just brought some really good first serves and was very hard to break.
“After that I had a toilet break which gave me some time but it was just a case of calming down to get back to my rhythm. Once back on court, I felt much better and it showed in that fourth set.”
For Laaksonen it was a lesson in tennis, facing – as he was – a player perched almost 300 places higher in the world rankings.
Far from lie down in the path of the on-rushing Berdych, the Swiss man grew into the match, and even afforded himself the occasional smile throughout. He was clearly enjoying the moment.
He said: “I enjoyed it almost from the beginning. I was maybe a little nervous but the crowd was amazing and it was really nice to play out there.
“But it showed there are still many things for me to work on – return, serve, backhand, volley – basically everything.”
Berdych’s win brought parity to the tie after Wawrinka had earlier been the more aggressive in a straight sets success over an erratic Rosol.
Rosol played the shot of the day – and most probably the weekend – with a cross-court hot-dog which barely shaved the tramline. It did him few favours, as he lost the game, which handed the first set to his Swiss opponent.
Wawrinka rarely appeared unsettled, and is certainly enjoying this great start to 2013.
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Lukas Rosol (CZE) - 01/02/2013
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) - 01/02/2013