Berdych outlasts Gasquet to complete Shenzhen defence


Defending champion Tomas Berdych claimed his first ATP title in nearly a year as he recovered after wasting match points to beat Richard Gasquet in three sets at the Shenzhen Open.

Berdych's last title win had come in Stockholm at the end of October 2015 but he ended that drought by completing a successful title defence in a hard-fought final with Gasquet.

The Czech overcame Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets at this tournament last year but was made to work harder for a 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 triumph this time around.

After breaks were traded in the opening two games both players stayed strong on serve to force a tie-break, which saw Berdych win three straight points from 4-5 down to take the set.

And it looked as if the world number nine would wrap things up in relatively short order when he broke for a 2-1 lead in the second.

However, a marathon set that lasted over an hour tilted in Gasquet's favour as the Frenchman saved two match points on his own serve before then breaking to love to level at 5-5.

Gasquet carried the momentum into the subsequent tie-break, which quickly turned into a rout as the world number 18 forced a decider.

But Berdych rediscovered his composure in the third and made no mistake after breaking to go 4-2 ahead, with victory sealed when Gasquet fired a forehand into the net.