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Berdych Closing On London Finals Spot

Paris, France

Berdych© AFP/Getty ImagesTomas Berdych could qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the second straight year.

Tomas Berdych is guaranteed to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals if he wins one more match at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris. The Czech is also one victory shy of 50 match wins this year (49-20 record).

The fifth seed and 2005 champion advanced to the third round on Tuesday when he beat Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 46 minutes. He will next meet either Serbian No. 11 seed Janko Tipsarevic or American Alex Bogomolov Jr.

Berdych first served for the match at 5-4, but squandered four match point opportunities. He broke Verdasco's serve to 30 at 5-5 and kept his nerve to record his seventh straight hard-court win over his Spanish opponent.

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American No. 13 seed Andy Roddick recorded his 34th match win of the season by beating French wild card Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-4 in 83 minutes. Roddick hit nine aces, winning 63 per cent of his service points, and came back from 1-3 down in the second set. Roddick will next meet either second seed Andy Murray or another French wild card, Jeremy Chardy, in the third round.

Roddick, when asked about missing out on the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals later this month, admitted, "The writing was on the wall midway through the year when I hadn't played much. It would have taken something pretty big. So it's not something I've concerned myself with too much. I don't really need to prove that I can make the Finals. I've done it nine times."

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In first round action, Japan's Kei Nishikori, last week's Swiss Indoors Basel runner-up (l. to Federer), had a short stay in the French capital when he was beaten by Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 6-3 in just over 90 minutes. Nishikori ends the year with a 36-22 match record on the season. He also reached the US Men's Clay Court Championship final in Houston (l. to Sweeting). Stakhovsky goes onto face No. 15 seed Viktor Troicki of Serbia.

American John Isner, a winner of two ATP World Tour titles from three finals this year, battled past World No. 16 Stanislas Wawrinka 6-7(3), 7-5, 7-6(5) in just under three hours on Court 1. Isner hit 19 aces and won 72 per cent of his service points, while Wawrinka saved eight of 10 break points and struck 11 aces. Isner now plays Russian lucky loser Igor Kunitsyn.

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