For Tomas Berdych, it had been a long time between drinks. Going on six years, in fact. But last night, he got to sip another sweet victory over world No. 1 Roger Federer.
I only just saw the end of the match on Tennis Channel encore a little while ago. I watched the first set before going to bed last night and even though Raja double faulted to gift Berdych the set, I figured the Czech would find a way to collapse and lose anyway. Got so busy today, I didn't even bother to check the results. When I turned on the tele, there was Berdych up an early break in the final set.
Ah. So what. He'll still lose.
The commentators filled me in on what I missed in the second set. One of them used the word collapse. Figures. And so when Berdych dumped serve at 4-3 to gift the break right back, I almost turned off the television and went back to the greenhouse.
Thankfully, the phone rang. I was on the line just long enough to see Raja come within 2 points of victory at 5-4, only to execute his own bit of the C word.
From there on, it was enthralling stuff. Dramatic. Crowd lapped it up like panting dogs. They wanted Raja to prevail. When he arrived, finally, at match point, it was on its feet. Surely Raja would serve his trademark flat ace out wide, short in the box, a magnificent delivery.
Nope. His timid first serve finds the net.
But still. Surely Berdych -- who had the match on his racquet at 5-4 in the ultimate breaker, but lost the first point when Raja crafted a point ending in a backhand drop shot that Berdych fell chasing down leaving the court open for Raja's dink forehand, lost the second when his own forehand missed the sideline by millimeters, and now found himself staring down the barrel of match point on Raja's serve -- would falter.
Nope. He saved match point like a champion. Deep return. Forehand winner, crosscourt, so flat and hard and deep, Raja didn't even try.
Two points later, when Raja's final forehand sailed beyond the baseline, Berdych rejoiced. Looked like the guy I saw almost six years ago who I thought would go on to bigger and better things but his head got in the way. Last night, though, he dug out from under. Finally.
The crowd was a bit let down, their guy didn't pull through, after all, but it had thoroughly enjoyed a good-ass match, best one of the tournament.
Singles - Fourth Round
 T Berdych (CZE) d  R Federer (SUI) 64 67(3) 76(6) - saved 1 M.P.
 R Nadal (ESP) d  D Ferrer (ESP) 76(5) 64
 R Soderling (SWE) d  F Gonzalez (CHI) 60 67(3) 62
 A Roddick (USA) d B Becker (GER) 76(4) 63
 F Verdasco (ESP) d  M Cilic (CRO) 64 76(3)
 J Tsonga (FRA) d  J Ferrero (ESP) 62 62
 M Youzhny (RUS) d M Fish (USA) 61 10 ret. (back)
 N Almagro (ESP) d  T Bellucci (BRA) 64 36 76(3)
Doubles - Second Round
 B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d E Butorac (USA) / R Ram (USA) 64 64
 M Bhupathi (IND) / M Mirnyi (BLR) d J Isner (USA) / S Querrey (USA) 63 62
 M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) d I Andreev (RUS) / M Youzhny (RUS) 46 64 10-6
B Becker (GER) / M Kohlmann (GER) d M Damm (CZE) / F Polasek (SVK) 76(3) 76(5)
Women's Singles - Quarterfinals
(3) Venus Williams (USA) d. (6) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 63 61
(13) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. (12) Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 64 75
Women's Doubles - Quarterfinals
(3) Petrova/Stosur (RUS/AUS) d. Coin/King (FRA/USA) 63 62
(4) Raymond/Stubbs (USA/AUS) d. (5) Kleybanova/Schiavone (RUS/ITA) 64 63
Dulko/Pennetta (ARG/ITA) d. Kirilenko/Radwanska (RUS/POL) 63 75