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Berdych Reaches Halle QFs; Raonic Awaits Federer-Mayer Winner

Halle, Germany

Berdych © Getty ImagesTomas Berdych advances to the Halle quarter-finals for the fourth time.

Third-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych opened with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Serbian Viktor Troicki on Wednesday at the Gerry Weber Open. The World No. 7 won 88 per cent of points behind his first serve and broke Troicki four times to claim the victory in 63 minutes.

“After a long time of not playing on grass, since last year, the first match can be really tricky,” said Berdych. “The only thing you can really be focussed and concentrate on is your own game and your own serve, which I was doing pretty well. When you’re serving well you put some pressure on the opponent, he starts to make some mistakes, gives you some chances to break. That’s what happened today.”

Berdych has a 14-4 record at this ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tournament, highlighted by the title win in 2007 (d. Baghdatis) and a runner-up finish in 2006 (l. to Federer). He awaits the winner between 2009 champion Tommy Haas and sixth seed Marcel Granollers in the quarter-finals.

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Canadian Milos Raonic, the No. 5 seed, also did not face a break point on serve as he dismissed China’s Ze Zhang 6-1, 6-1 in 51 minutes. The 217th-ranked Zhang had defeated German Tobias Kamke on Monday for his second match win in ATP World Tour main draw action.

“I did what I needed to do,” said Raonic. “I was very focussed on myself, focussed on my game, and making him feel as uncomfortable as possible and trying to make him adjust to me.”

The 21-year-old Raonic advances to the Halle quarter-finals for the second straight year and could next face five-time champion Roger Federer, who plays his opening match against German Florian Mayer on Thursday. Federer needed three sets to defeat Raonic in their two previous meetings.

The Canadian made his tour-level grass court debut last year in Halle, and said he had been eagerly anticipating this season’s grass campaign. “Wimbledon, and also Queen’s Club and here are great tournaments always won by top players,” he said. “It shows that even though it’s short, the time of the year for grass, all the top guys want to produce top tennis.”

Russian Mikhail Youzhny, a two-time doubles champion in Halle, reached his fifth quarter-final of the season with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over fourth-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov.

“With him, nobody has easy matches,” said the World No. 31. “He can play very good one set, or he can give you a present for one set and after play unbelievable. Today it was close, one break each set, and I was a little bit lucky. On grass you have to be a little bit lucky in this close of a match.”

Youzhny has a 10-7 singles match record in Halle, and will look to reach the event semi-finals for the second time when he faces Radek Stepanek. The Czech defeated German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 6-4, 6-4 with one break of serve in each set to win consecutive tour-level for the first time since a semi-final showing in Memphis this past February.

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