World no. 1, Novak Djokovic pulled off from a set down to overcome Tomas Berdych of Czechoslovakia in a third set tie break to win 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6-3) at ATP World Tour.
The Serb, whose fitness had been in doubt prior to the tournament lost the first set but able to regenerate and triumph the two succeeding sets against the Czech.
Djokovic’s back injury sustained during a Davis Cup clash with Juan Martin Del Potro forced him to miss the Asian swing while he came into the tournament nursing a shoulder problem that forced him out of the Paris Masters two weeks ago.
Berdych, making his second consecutive appearance at the O2 Arena, has been backed by many to give Djokovic a tough night but the Serb almost pulled back both breaks in succession.
Djokovic’s only loss in eight previous meetings with his 26-year-old opponent came in the Wimbledon semi-finals last year, and he set about making sure that would not be followed by another here with a break at the start of the second set.
In the final deciding set, Berdych possesses perhaps the most lethal forehand in his arsenal has sent Djokovic scuttling around the court.
When he stood just one winner away from glory, with Djokovic 5-6 and 30-40 down in the deciding set, Berdych looked for yet another down-the-line pile-driver. But he found the net cord, and from there his self-belief evaporated into a series of howling errors.
The Serb, after undergoing a thorough grilling by the hard-hitting Czech, Djokovic registered his 70th win against Berdych sealing his victory in two hours and 38 minutes to join Spain’s David Ferrer on one win in Group A.