Janko Tipsarevic's stay at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals will be a brief one after he was beaten by Tomas Berdych in another entertaining clash at the O2 Arena.
The Serb replaced the injured Andy Murray knowing his only chance of reaching the semi-finals was to defeat both Berdych and close friend Novak Djokovic, but those hopes were ended this afternoon by a 2-6 6-3 7-6 (8/6) defeat.
Berdych had lost a deciding tie-break to Djokovic in his opening Group A clash on Monday but he avoided the same fate today by saving a match point and then sealing victory with a forehand while his opponent lay face down on the floor.
Tipsarevic has been in London all week waiting for his chance, and he was not in the mood to hang around when it finally arrived.
The likeable 27-year-old has been one of the most improved players this season having climbed from outside the top 50 to number nine in the world.
He won his first ATP Tour titles in Kuala Lumpur and Moscow and reached his first grand slam quarter-final at the US Open, while he also carried a 4-1 head-to-head record against Berdych into the match, although the Czech did win in Paris two weeks ago.
Tipsarevic's first act at the O2 was to break his opponent's serve, and he took a stranglehold on the opening set with a second break to lead 5-1.
He wobbled serving it out but Berdych could not take advantage of three break points and Tipsarevic finished it off with an ace.
The Czech's form was a major disappointment after his performance against Djokovic but he picked things up in the second set and gained the crucial break in the eighth game.
The decider was extremely tight but Berdych looked to be in control when he won the first point against the serve to lead 5-3 in the tie-break.
It was not nearly that simple, though. First Berdych squandered both his service point to give his opponent a match point on his own delivery, only for Tipsarevic to guide a volley just wide.
He lost the next point, too, with a make-or-break second serve that missed by some distance. And this time Berdych did seize his chance, helped by a dramatic slip from his opponent.Reuse content