Berdych ready for tough Serbia test

Tomas Berdych is ready to take on one of the toughest challenges of his career as the Czech Republic aim to retain the Davis Cup with victory over Serbia.

Tomas Berdych

Berdych will come face to face with world number two Novak Djokovic in the tie's potentially pivotal fourth rubber on Sunday, in the knowledge that the odds of victory are stacked against him.

World number seven Berdych has beaten Djokovic just twice in their previous 16 meetings - neither on hard courts and certainly not in the Serbian's home city where around 15,500 fans will cheer him on.

But Berdych insists success or failure may not hinge on their showdown with four other rubbers to play and the hosts hit by the withdrawal due to injury this week of their second singles player Janko Tipsarevic.

Berdych told daviscup.com: "Novak is going to play at home. He's going to play on a surface that he has chosen in the conditions that he loves the most - it is not going to be easy at all.

"But we are in a position that this is not a singles tournament - we have five matches to try to score three points. Every match is important but if we do not win some of them we still need three points."

Djokovic will open the final on Friday as a heavy favourite against Czech veteran Radek Stepanek as the Serbians bid to claim a second Davis Cup title following their inaugural triumph in 2010.

Berdych will start against Tipsarevic's replacement, world number 117 Dusan Lajovic, before Saturday's doubles pits Berdych and Stepanek - beaten just once in 15 Davis Cup doubles appearances - against Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic.

The form guide suggests the Czechs should have the upper-hand heading into Sunday's reverse singles with the possible consequence that a victory for Berdych over Djokovic would keep the title in Czech hands.

And despite the odds being heavily weighed in his favour, in-form Djokovic insists he will be taking no chances against an opponent he has grown to know well over the years.

Djokovic said: "Tomas is one of the best players in the world for many years. He is an established top-10 player and he loves playing on hard courts. Even though I have never lost to him (on hard courts) we have had a couple of very long, close matches."



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