GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: Tomas Berdych bellowed cheers of joy to the Czech faithful, whilst Stanislas Wawrinka cried tears of despair as this historic Davis Cup by BNP Paribas tie went the way of the defending champions.
The pair had been involved in Saturday’s record-breaking doubles match, which ran for seven hours and one minute.
Berdych, the world No. 6, had to call upon all his experience to find a way past Switzerland’s stubborn Wawrinka, 63 64 36 76(5).
The Czech ace admitted: “I played him many times and actually he’s not one of the opponents I like to play because he has a dangerous game.
“But for myself, I have to say, that was my best match with him and I’m very happy with that.”
Berdych and Wawrinka both looked incredibly fresh, despite their marathon match on Saturday.
Their contest, in front of a raucous Geneva crowd, could have gone either way. The difference between the pair was that Berdych took his chances, whereas Wawrinka – in the main – did not.
Berdych claimed the first set after converting the only break point he could conjure. Wawrinka carved out four break points, and failed to press home the advantage on all four occasions.
And it was a visibly distressed Wawrinka who faced the media afterwards. Following an emotionally and physically draining defeat on Saturday, to follow that with a tie-defining loss on Sunday, proved too much for the Swiss man to take.
He wiped tears from his eyes as he momentarily left the press conference, returning to explain how – in 10 years of Davis Cup – this one had been the cruellest loss.
Wawrinka’s reaction to the defeat a clear indication of how much this competition means to him.
He told me: “It’s an important competition because you’re playing for your country. I’m really proud to be there and to play on the courts.
“I was ready for a fifth set, but that’s it. For sure it’s not easy right now.
“We were really close all weekend but lost 3-1. I’m really sad.”
Wawrinka took Berdych to a fourth set tie-break, and was serving to take the match to a fifth at 5-4 up, with a mini break. Berdych – who has shown himself to be the man for the big occasions – reeled off three points in a row, to break Wawrinka’s heart.
Berdych eventually got to bed at 2am on Sunday morning, after Saturday’s exploits, but that did not appear to hamper his play.
He said: “This is a team event and the people we have in the team have magic hands. They did a really great job and they told me I would ready.
“I was feeling good from the first point and was quite ready for a fifth set.”
Berdych is clearly another player who revels in the Davis Cup arena. He shared a few moments hugging the Czech fans who had shared the rollercoaster ride the past three days.
Davis Cup tennis taps into players’ emotions like nothing else. Berdych’s delight at victory, coupled with Wawrinka’s abject misery at the crushing defeat, proof if any were needed.
View the statistics from the matches here: Live scores
Captain Severin Luthi (SUI)- 03/02/2013
Tomas Berdych (CZE) - 03/02/2013
Captain Jaroslav Navratil (CZE) - 03/02/2013
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) - 03/02/2013