Aus Open site logo 14-27 Jan 19
Tomas Berdych took out the inaugural Tie Break Tens in Melbourne Tomas Berdych took out the inaugural Tie Break Tens in Melbourne

Berdych takes out Tie Break Tens

News

Tomas Berdych has hit an early jackpot ahead of his 15th Australian Open campaign, pocketing a cool $US8064.52 per point to win Melbourne’s inaugural Tie Break Tens event on Wednesday night.

The Czech took down the big-serving brigade of Nick Kyrgios and Milos Raonic before posting a convincing 10-5 win over Rafael Nadal in the final, landing the $250,000 winner’s cheque and the novel gold balloon dog trophy.

A relaxed vibe extended throughout the early rounds with Kyrgios taking a dig at Lucas Pouille after both fell at the opening hurdle.

Nadal cruised past the Frenchman for the loss of just one point, as Kyrgios went down to eventual champion Berdych.

“I’m not putting too much expectation on myself here. I thought Lucas Pouille was going to be good at this format,” Kyrgios quipped, with the Frenchman laughing in the background after his drubbing.

Once the sizeable winner-takes-all bounty for three first-to-10 tiebreaks rolled around in the final, Berdych and Nadal had switched on their game faces.

It was a welcome sweetener for the 32-year-old Czech in his return to tour. He bowed out early in Doha last week following three months out of the game with a back injury.

World No.1 Nadal headed the all-star line-up, which included Novak Djokovic, Kyrgios, Dominic Thiem, Pouille, Lleyton Hewitt and eventual champion Berdych. Raonic was a late replacement for Stan Wawrinka, as the Swiss continued to build his comeback ahead of AO2018 following six months on the sidelines.

A compression-sleeved Djokovic competed for the first time since retiring with an arm injury at Wimbledon 2017, and was quickly sent packing when the retired Hewitt came out firing. The Aussie eventually fell to Nadal in a gripping semifinal, 13-11, having held a match point.

This was the third time a men’s Tie Break Tens event had been staged after Kyle Edmund won in London, Thiem in Vienna and Grigor Dimitrov in Madrid.

Simona Halep won the inaugural women’s event in Madrid last season.

Results

Match One
Lleyton Hewitt 10-6 Novak Djokovic
Match Two
Rafael Nadal 10-1 Lucas Pouille
Match Three
Tomas Berdych 10-8 Nick Kyrgios
Match Four
Milos Raonic 10-8 Dominic Thiem

Semifinals
Nadal 13-11 Hewitt (saved one Match point)
Berdych 13-11 Raonic

Final
Berdych 10-5 Nadal