The 41st ABN AMRO World Men’s Tennis Tournament, popularly known as the Rotterdam Open concluded on February 16, 2014, with Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic emerging as the new champion. The famous competition, held on indoor hard courts, is a part of ATP World Series Tour 500 Series, in which famous tennis players participate every year. This year’s top seed was Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina. Reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray was the second seed, who confirmed his participation at the last moment. Berdych was the third seed and others, in the order of their seeding were; Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France; Tommy Haas of Germany; Mikhail Youzhny of Russia and Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria. Much was expected of the Bulgarian, who had threatened Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open Quarterfinals early this year. In that match at Melbourne, Dimitrov took the first set from Nadal and held three set points in the third set, before finally losing to the tenacity of world’s best tennis player.
Rotterdam Open has always been a popular tournament with top tennis stars and 2014 was no different, as it could boast of attracting 7 players from the top 12 in the world. For reasons of ill-health Switzerland’s Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka withdrew at the last minute. Apart from the 8 seeded players, the tournament also saw the participation by Jerzy Janowicz of Poland, Ernests Gulbis of Latvia, Roger-Vasselin Edouard of France, Marin Cilic of Croatia, Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, Dominic Thiem of Austria and some others. Igor Sijsling and Thiemo de Bakker were the two wild card entrants from the Netherlands. With a number of promising stars converging in Rotterdam, the pressure on the reigning champion Juan Martin del Potro, for retaining his title, had gone up several notches.
Other than Frenchmen Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who lost in the second round, most seeded players had easy entry into the quarterfinals. The tournament became interesting at this stage. Giant killer Marin Cilic defeated Andy Murray 6-3, 6-4, while Latvian Gulbis accounted for defending champion Juan Martin del Potro by the same margin. Cilic was the player, who had earlier beaten Jo-Winfried Tsonga in the second round. Wild card entrant Igor Sijsling progressed to the semifinal by defeating the German Kohlschreiber in three sets 6-2, 2-6, 6-1.
Tomas Berdych had a tough quarterfinal game against the Pole Jerzy Janowicz, whom he finally defeated 6-7, 6-2, 6-4. But Berdych’s easy semifinal match with Gulbis took him to the final. On the other hand, Marin Cilic had to fight hard with Dutchman Sijsling, before coming over 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 to set up the championship clash with Berdych. It was a tough match for the Croat, as the local crowd naturally rooted for Dutchman Sijsling, all through the match.
Berdych had been craving for an ATP title for long and the Rotterdam Open presented him a perfect opportunity. But Marin Cilic has had a good tournament too. With a surprisingly easy victory against Andy Murray earlier, Cilic was a man to be feared against. But in the end, the 28 year old Berdych didn’t have to make much effort against Cilic. The final was almost one-sided, as Berdych took just 75 minutes to defeat Cilic 6-4, 6-2. This was Berdych’s eighth appearance in the Rotterdam Open and year after year he had been losing on his way. This year, however, he was in no mood to oblige anybody, though he had a tough quarterfinal against Jerzy Janowicz, who was the only player in the whole tournament to take a set away from the Czech Republic’s world no. 7.
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