One act of kindness deserves another.
Tomas Berdych's 6-3, 6-3 quarter-final win over Blaz Kavcic at the Chennai Open on Friday is a testimony to the above adage.
Don't be foxed by the scoreline. For the match was anything but a straightforward win for the top seed.
On another day, and against a better opponent, Berdych would definitely have finished second best after such a vapid display that considerably undermined his status as the tournament's top seed.
However on Friday, despite his shoddy effort, Berdych was the beneficiary of Kavcic's act of benevolence. On the positive side though the win helped the Czech remain on course to win his first tour title in 20 months, having last won in May 2009 at Munich.
If Berdych was unimpressive in his second round win over Ivan Dodig of Croatia, he was worse on Friday. In fact his performance in the second round was marginally better.
The top seed, struggled with his serve for most parts of the match (dropping it twice), but still managed to take advantage of an opponent who had tremendous problems of his own.
The match per se, had an uneventful opening set and an error-stewn second, one that witnessed as many as six breaks of serve. And, the player who was more generous than the other (Kavcic) had to reschedule and bring forward his flight ticket.
One break of serve -- in the fourth game of the opening set -- was enough for the top seed to pocket the set. Kavcic helped his opponent considerably in securing that advantage by serving as many as four double faults in that particular game.
The Slovenian had a chance to get the break back in the ninth game -- when he was up 40-15 on Berdych's serve. However, he let the Czech claw his way back into the game and thereby pocket the set.
The second set was an error-prone affair with as many as five breaks of serve in the first seven games, both players getting ample scope to show their human side (read generosity).
Berdych carried forward the momentum into the second set, breaking Kavcic in the opening game. The Slovenian returned the favour in the fourth game, forcing the top seed to drop serve for the first time in the match.
The duo traded breaks in the subsequent two games and the Slovenian for once seemed to have the upper hand.
However, instead of building on that regained advantage, Kavcic let Berdych come right back into the set, dropping his service for the third time in the set in the seventh game.
The Slovenian had a chance to break the Czech in the eighth game as well. However, he failed to take it.
And that was the leeway Berdych required, breaking his opponent for a fourth time (in the set) in the next to seal the match in his favour.
The win, which looks fairly comprehensive if one looks at the scoreline, was in reality some good fortune for Berdych.
The Czech might have escaped maximum penalty for his vapid display on Friday thanks largely to an opponent who responded to his act of kindness with an even bigger act.
However, he needs to get his act back together in the semi-final. For his opponent on Saturday, Stanislas Wawrinka -- who beat Dutchman Robin Haase 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 --could well take advantage of the Czech's frailties.
For the record, Wawrinka beat Berdych the last occasion they played -- in Rome last year. It is entirely up to the Czech to either improve his overall record against the Swiss to 5-3 or help the latter get back to level terms.