Top seed Tomas Berdych edged Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 7-6 in the final of the Shenzhen Open to lift his 11th ATP Tour-level title.
The win allowed the Czech to add 250 points to his rankings tally and has all but confirmed his participation in the season-ending World Tour Finals.
The final, which was already delayed by a day due to persistent rain delays, witnessed an almost hour-long hiatus due to inclement weather. However, it did little to distract Berdych’s attention as he fired 13 aces, won 68 percent of the service points and converted two of six break points created to register his first tournament triumph of the season.
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Berdych started proceedings brightly and quickly raced to a 5-2 lead before the match witnessed a 45-minute rain delay. The 30-year-old though was unfazed by the pause as he returned to close out the first set 6-3.
Garcia-Lopez bounced back in the second, securing an early break to go 3-1 up. Berdych hit back immediately to get back on serve and took the set to a tiebreaker.
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The Spaniard, who came into the contest with his head-to-head record tied at 3-3 with Berdych, had a set point at his disposal at 6-5. However, the towering Czech quickly snuffed out the challenge from his opponent and converted from his second match point opportunity to seal the affair.
The victory firmly put Berdych at fifth slot in the ATP Race to London ranking points and has virtually guaranteed him a position in the year-ending finale.
Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka have already booked their place in the showpiece event.
Following his win, Berdych cut a relieved and satisfied figure and attributed the outcome to his ability to better adjust to the conditions than Garcia-Lopez.
“The last three days were tough, especially mentally to keep being very focused. I was the one who dealt with that the best. I'm proud of myself to make it happen, because these conditions were not easy at all.
"It was another challenge to finally get the trophy. It was a very close match today. I'm really happy with the way I started. I was very focused and very sharp from the beginning.
"Then I lost my serve. He played a couple of good, crazy shots to get his break. But I managed to break him back and get the second set into a tie-break. The tie-break was really up and down, but I think my experience was the decider for today. I'm very happy to win like that."
Berdych now has a 48-16 win-loss mark for the season, his best result finishing as runner-up at the Monte Carlo Masters 1000.
He will next compete at China Open at Beijing this week where he is seeded second.
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