Olympics-Tennis-Opening Centre Court match sees Berdych bow out

LONDON, July 28 Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:45am EDT

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LONDON, July 28 (Reuters) - Tennis fans did not have to wait long for the first upset of the Olympics with sixth seed Tomas Berdych losing 6-4 6-4 to Belgian world number 75 Steve Darcis at the opening match on Wimbledon's Centre Court on Saturday.

As the Czech approached the net to shake the winner's hand he pulled a slightly bemused look as if to say "What happened there?" before congratulating his grinning opponent, who had never before played on the 15,000 capacity court.

"It has always been a dream to play (on Centre Court). When you're young you watch Pete Sampras playing there and you think maybe one day, and today it was my day," Darcis told reporters.

"It was a great atmosphere. To play those matches is why you play tennis and today it was an amazing feeling."

Having won the first set and gone 5-3 up in the second to serve for the match, Darcis wobbled to hand his opponent a break.

Berdych's change in fortunes looked set to continue as Darcis, serving for the match a second time, made a string of sloppy errors to go 15-40 down, hanging his head in frustration.

But the crowd, half-empty as many took the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere around the venue before watching Roger Federer and Serena Williams later, got behind the underdog and with a lot of clapping and some cries of encouragement the 28-year-old clawed his way back to deuce.

The pair battled it out in a long rally, which Darcis ended with a classy cross court backhand to gain match point before Berdych powered a shot long to gift the Belgian the match.

Darcis will face Colombia's Santiago Giraldo in the second round.

"I played him in Munich on clay this year and I lost already, but you know I just beat Tomas," said Darcis.

"I'm playing good, I'm confident, so why not Santiago, he's a great player and it will be very tough but I will do my best and see how it goes." (Editing by Mark Meadows)

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