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Berdych, Simon, Monfils Advance To Montpellier SFs

Montpellier, France

Simon© Open Sud de FranceGilles Simon is looking to win his third ATP World Tour title on French soil.

Top-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych overcame Nicolas Mahut of France 6-3, 6-4 on Friday for a place in the Open Sud de France semi-finals in Montpellier.

Berdych recovered from a 0-3 deficit in the second set to win five straight games. He  hit 14 aces and won 38 of his 47 service points to record his third successive win over Mahut in 74 minutes. Mahut, 30, is now 3-22 against Top 10 opponents.

"So far everything’s going pretty well," said Berdych. "I have a second match under my belt. The very important thing in my game is serve. It was working pretty well, [except] for one game where I lost maybe a bit of concentration and lost that game, but finally was able to finish it in straight sets, so happy for that."

Last week, World No. 7 Berdych reached the Australian Open quarter-finals (l. to Nadal) for the second year running.

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The Czech will next play German seventh seed Philipp Kohlschreiber, whom he has beaten in six of their previous seven meetings. "It’s going to be another semi-final, which is a solid week so far, but I don’t want to end up with that, so try my best and try to go through," said Berdych.

Kohlschreiber struck 18 aces and capitalised on three of his six break points to defeat No. 4 seed Richard Gasquet of France 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

"I came out with a good start. I had the right tactic," said the German. "Maybe he was not 100 per cent in the match in the beginning, so I felt I had a little bit of chance. I put a lot of pressure, I played very, very high quality tennis, and overall I served very well. It was a very good match for me."

Second seed Gilles Simon advanced to his second ATP World Tour semi-final of the season with a 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 6-2 victory over fellow Frenchman and wild card Guillaume Rufin in two hours and 53 minutes.

There were four straight breaks of serve in the deciding set, before the World No. 12 won the last four games. He is looking to lift his 10th ATP World Tour title and third on French soil (2007-Marseille, 2010-Metz). 

Simon will next face 2010 champion Gael Monfils, who is currently No. 13 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. Third seed Monfils hit nine aces and lost six points on serve in a convincing 6-3, 6-3 victory over Jarkko Nieminen of Finland in just 54 minutes.

Monfils reached the Qatar ExxonMobil Open final (l. to Tsonga) in the first week of the 2012 ATP World Tour season. Nieminen dropped to an 8-3 season record, which includes lifting his second ATP World Tour title at the Apia International Sydney (d. Benneteau) last month.

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Open Sud de France, Montpellier

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