MELBOURNE Jan 23 Tomas Berdych blamed the "lottery" of the tiebreak as he was beaten by Stanislas Wawrinka in the semi-finals of the Australian Open on Thursday night.
The Czech seventh seed won the second set on a tiebreak to level but then lost out in two more as he went down 6-3 6-7 7-6 7-6 to miss out on a second grand slam final.
"It was a very good match," former Wimbledon runner-up Berdych told reporters.
"I played very well. I built the tactics and the game plan on my strength. It was working pretty good.
"There was just one thing that I missed and it was my service game in the first set.
"Other than that, I was able to play aggressive, not to do that many mistakes, attacking Stan, especially after those slices backhands.
"The game plan was working nearly perfect. But just the tiebreak is always a big lottery and he was the lucky one today."
Usually a tiebreak favours the player with the bigger serve -- he is likely to have to work less hard for points -- but Berdych was his own worst enemy as double faults in each one helped the Swiss get over the line.
"I'm starting to get quite annoyed with the matches losing in tiebreaks," he said. "I'm not pretty good in that. I can give you quite many examples of losing matches in tiebreaks. I need to improve that, definitely."
Berdych, who has now reached the semi-finals of all four grand slam events but never won one, said he was pleased with the way he had played throughout the match.
Wawrinka took his first break point chance in the opening set as he took it to get his nose in front but that was the last break of the match as each player backed up their serve superbly.
The Swiss looked to be getting a bit flat as Berdych levelled but when it came to the third and fourth-set tiebreaks, he was the aggressor and took advantage of the Czech's errors to set up a final against either his fellow-Swiss Roger Federer or world number one Rafael Nadal who play on Friday.
"The match was extremely even and it was really so close," he said. "It's really hard to find what could be the difference. We both played great, we played a good match. Stan was the one that just took (his chance), and that's it."
Berdych said Wawrinka fully deserved his place in his first grand slam final.
"He's the player who made the biggest improvement of his game in the last year," Berdych said.
"When he started to work with Magnus (Norman, in April), his tennis is really, really a different level. You can see it on the results. Really there is no question about it."
Our top photos from the past week.