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Four Germans Reach QFs; Zverev Saves M.P. Against Berdych

Halle, Germany

Mischa Zverev© Getty ImagesMischa Zverev celebrates after defeating past champion Tomas Berdych.

ATP World Tour No. 45 Mischa Zverev held his nerve to save two match points and oust 2007 champion Tomas Berdych 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(8) on Wednesday to reach the quarter-finals of the Gerry Weber Open, an ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tennis tournament in Halle.

The German wild card delighted home fans as he saved two match points at 6-7 and 7-8 in the tie-break – having initially held a 6-3 advantage himself – before winning the final three points of the match to prevail after two hours and 32 minutes. Zverev had led 4-2 in the final set, after rallying from a one-set deficit. He converted five of eight break point chances, and saved 10 of the 14 that he faced on serve.

“I felt that he would start to get anxious at some point,” said Zverev, who defeated Berdych last month in Rome. “For instance at 3-3 he missed a forehand and I thought that in Rome he had match points against me and missed with his backhand. Then, he only played cross court like now, five, six, seven times cross then he tried to play longline and missed. I knew my chance would come.”

The 21-year-old Zverev, who won the Halle doubles title in 2008 with Mikhail Youzhny, is through to his fourth ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season and improved to an 11-10 match record. The Hamburg resident is currently a career-high No. 45 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings – one of five Germans ranked inside the Top 50.

The No. 21-ranked Berdych was chasing a third final appearance at Halle. He finished runner-up to Roger Federer on his debut in 2006 and captured the title the following year with victory over Marcos Baghdatis. The 23 year old was also looking for his second title on German soil this season, having won his fifth ATP World Tour title at Munich last month (d. Youzhny).

Zverev next will meet German compatriot and wild card Tommy Haas, who knocked out fourth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-6(3). By defeating the World No. 9, Haas snapped a seven-match losing streak against Top 10 players that began in July 2008 at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Toronto (l. to No. 4 Davydenko).

"We both played extremely well, served well," said Haas. "I didn’t look at the statistics but I’m sure there were more winners than unforced errors from both sides. It was a great match. Obviously, I think I played at the level as good as I can play at times, especially when it came to the big points. I think that is the only reason why I won today. So, that was nice."

The 31-year-old German has a 16-9 lifetime record in Halle, reaching the semi-finals in 2005-06 and the quarter-finals in 2004. He advances to his third quarter-final of the 2009 tennis season, having reached this stage previously on hard court at San Jose (l. to Roddick) and on clay at Houston (l. to Phau).

A third German wild card, Benjamin Becker, also upset a seeded opponent – knocking out eighth-seeded compatriot Rainer Schuettler 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. The No. 83-ranked Becker fired 12 aces as both players broke serve six times from 14 opportunities in the two-hour and one-minute match.

Becker, who will celebrate his 28th birthday on Tuesday, is through to his first ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season. The right-hander has posted strong results on the ATP Challenger Tour this season, capturing four titles and reaching a fifth final. He had never advanced past the second round in Halle in three previous appearances.

Philipp Kohlschreiber joined his countrymen in the quarter-finals after defeating No. 6 seed Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 7-6(6) as he fired 10 aces and converted two of his nine break points.

Kohlschreiber, the top German at a career-high No. 24 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, has now reached the quarter-finals in four of his five Halle appearances. Last year, he finished runner-up to Roger Federer.

Lucky loser Lukas Lacko, a replacement for scheduled top seed Roger Federer, took full advantage of his opportunity by winning his first ATP World Tour match of the season with a 7-6(6), 6-2 victory over Israeli qualifier Harel Levy.

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