MELBOURNE, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Big-hitting Czech Tomas Berdych is determined not to let missed opportunities ruin his chances of going further than he has ever gone before at the Australian Open.
The fifth seed survived an epic third-set tiebreak against 203 centimetre (6 feet 8 inches) South African Kevin Anderson, winning it 15-13 to clinch a 6-3 6-2 7-6 victory.
It is the third straight year in the last eight for Berdych, who had a point to lead Rafa Nadal by two sets to love at the same stage last year only for the Spaniard to storm back for victory.
“Many people (talk about) that backhand volley,” Berdych told reporters of that missed opportunity against Nadal.
”I saw it a couple of times on the TV. Still, I was the one on court playing the situation. Maybe it looks easier than the volley was.
”It was not something like when I missed against John Isner in the final in Winston-Salem. That was an easy backhand volley which I will see for a couple of years.
“This one was a tough shot. As Rafa has shown, he is a great fighter. He was playing really well and it was a good match.”
But with the confidence of not yet dropping a set in Melbourne this year, Berdych said he was determined only to look forward and not back after setting up a meeting with either top seed Novak Djokovic or Swiss 15th seed Stanislas Wawrinka.
”I would say I feel much better,“ the Czech said. ”The last year was a pretty big year for me. There were many new experiences that I learned. I hope that I‘m going to be able to profit from that.
“Even to play the semi-final in the U.S. Open, that match with Andy Murray, even though it didn’t go well, I could learn a lot from that.”
Berdych led the Czech Republic to victory in the Davis Cup at the end of last year but said he was focused on his performance here, rather than reminiscing about his achievements.
”It’s nice actually to talk about it now or to talk about it at dinner,“ he said. ”But once you come to the court, even for practice, it has to be over, because the season started and nobody actually cares about that.
“It’s done, we won that and that’s it. Now everything starts from the beginning again, and that’s how it is.” (Editing by Patrick Johnston)