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Winston-Salem Friday Preview: Three Top 10 Stars In SFs

Winston-Salem, U.S.A.

Berdych© Getty ImagesCzech Tomas Berdych plays American Sam Querrey in one of Friday's semi-finals.

WINSTON-SALEM FRIDAY PREVIEW - THREE TOP 10 PLAYERS & IN-FORM QUERREY IN FANTASTIC SEMI-FINALS

• Three Top 10 players, including two former Grand Slam finalists and the American No. 1, will be joined by another American on the rise in the semi-finals of the Winston-Salem Open on Friday. All four players have captured one ATP World Tour title this season.

• The first semi-final pits the top players from France and the U.S., respectively, as No. 1 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga takes on No. 3 seed and reigning Winston-Salem Open champ John Isner, who has won two of the previous three meetings (tied 1-1 on hard). In their two meetings on hard courts there have been only two breaks of serve with 65 of 67 games held (each player breaking once). Both players have only been broken once this week while Tsonga is the only player left without losing a set. Tsonga is trying to reach his 14th ATP World Tour final (8-5 mark), the first on U.S. soil, while Isner is looking to advance to his 12th ATP World Tour final (4-7 record).

• In the second semi-final, No. 2 seed and wild card Tomas Berdych squares off with No. 7 seed Sam Querrey for the third time (tied 1-1). Their previous meetings were in 2008 with Berdych winning 61 62 in Miami and Querrey cruising to a 63 61 62 victory at the US Open. Querrey came into the summer hard court season ranked No. 57 but is now up to No. 28 after winning 13 of his past 16 matches.  He is through to his third semi-final in the last five weeks and will now attempt to reach his second final in a month. Querrey has 10 Top 10 career wins to his name and he’s looking for his first against the elite this year (0-3). Berdych is trying to reach his 15th ATP World Tour level final (7-7 record) and Querrey is aiming for his 13th ATP World Tour final (7-5 mark).

FRIDAY SEMI-FINALS FED-EX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS – In Order of Play

Center Court

(1)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs (3) John Isner (USA) Isner Leads 2-1
09 Washington (USA) Hard R32 John Isner 4-6 7-6(2)  7-6(4)
11 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Paris  Hard SF Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 3-6 7-6(1)  7-6(3)
12 FRA vs. USA WG QF (France) Clay RR John Isner 6-3 7-6(4)   5-7    6-3

Tsonga FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Doha (d Monfils); SF(2): Marseille (l Del Potro); Wimbledon (l Murray); QF(6): Dubai (l Del Potro); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (l Nadal); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo (l Simon); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (l Djokovic); Roland Garros (l Djokovic); London Olympics (l Djokovic)
YTD W-L: 40-15 (21-6 on hard)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 8
Date of Birth: April 17, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 6

• Tsonga, 27, the top Frenchman, is appearing in his fourth semi-final of the season (1-2 mark) and comes in with a 40-15 match record and has played well on all surfaces (21-6 on hard, 10-6 on clay and 9-3 on grass)…Trying to reach his first career ATP World Tour final in the U.S., 14th overall (8-5 mark)
• This week has not dropped a set in his three wins over Thomaz Bellucci 63 76, qualifier Sergiy Stakhovsky 76 64 and No. 6 seed Marcel Granollers 61 62…Has held serve 29 of 30 games (97%), saving seven of eight break points
• In his last tournament in Toronto, lost in the opening round to countryman Jeremy Chardy...One day after his loss, cut his right  knee when he inadvertently walked into a fire hydrant (sticking out low out of a building)…It required eight stitches and he was forced to withdrawl from Cincinnati
• At the London Olympics, teamed with Michael Llodra to earn a silver medal in doubles (l. to Bryans)…Also reached the quarter-finals in singles (l. to Djokovic) after defeating Milos Raonic 25-23 in third set in second round (longest singles final set in Olympics history)
• In opening week of campaign in Doha, captured eighth career ATP World Tour title (d. Monfils) and reached the semi-finals in February in Marseille (l. to del Potro)…Afterwards, reached a career-high No. 5 on Feb. 27
• Has advanced to the quarter-finals in three ATP Masters 1000 events – Miami, Monte Carlo and Rome
• Has played well in Grand Slams with a 12-3 mark, reaching the fourth round at Australian Open (l. to Nishikori), his first quarter-final at Roland Garros (l. to Djokovic in five sets) and semi-finals for second year in a row at Wimbledon (l. to Murray)
• He played in Davis Cup quarter-finals Apr. 6-8 vs. the U.S., defeating Ryan Harrison and falling to John Isner in four sets…In first round Davis Cup tie in Vancouver, won both of his matches in straight sets (d. Pospisil, Dancevic)

Isner FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Newport (d Hewitt); F(2): ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Federer); Houston (l Monaco); SF(3): Delray Beach (l Anderson); Atlanta (l Roddick); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Toronto (l Gasquet); QF(3): Memphis (l Melzer); Nice (l Davydenko); London Olympics (l Federer)
YTD W-L: 39-15 (21-8 on hard), 33-13 in Tie-breaks (most TBs won on ATP World Tour)
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 4
Date of Birth: April 26, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 10

• Isner, 27, the top American on the ATP World Tour, comes into his seventh semi-final (3-3 mark) on the season with a 39-15 match record, including 21-8 on hard courts…Also leads circuit with 33-13 tie-break mark, winning 13 of past 16 TBs (4-0 TBs in eight-match winning streak here back to last year)
• Has a career-best 4-2 mark vs. Top 10 opponents this season after going 2-12 the past two years
• In wins over Martin Klizan 46 63 75, No. 13 seed Jurgen Melzer 64 63 and David Goffin 76 63, has hit a tournament-high 48 aces and has held serve 35 of 36 games (97%), saving one of two break pts.
• Last month he repeated his title in Newport (d. Hewitt) and followed with semi-final in Atlanta (l. to eventual champ Roddick) and quarter-final at the London Olympics (l. to Federer)
• He returned to Top 10 last week after reaching semi-finals at ATP Masters 1000 Toronto (l. to Gasquet), for first time since week of July 2 and 13th week in career since first breaking in on March 19 (after Indian Wells final)
• He jumped off to a 20-7 start through April, and has compiled a 19-8 mark since May
• During European play, lost in 2nd Rd. in Madrid (after bye) and Rome, QF in Nice (after bye), 2nd Rd. at Roland Garros (lost 18-16 in fifth set to Mathieu) and 1st Rd. at Wimbledon (lost 7-5 in fifth to Falla)
• Has led the U.S. into the Davis Cup semi-finals (vs. Spain) with wins over Frenchmen No. 13 Gilles Simon and No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in April at the Monte-Carlo Country Club…In February, beat No. 3 Roger Federer in first round tie in Switzerland
• In March, advanced to his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Indian Wells, defeating World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals before losing to Federer…Afterwards, broke into the Top 10 on March 19.
• Coming into this week he leads the ATP World Tour with most aces (756, 14.8 avg.) and break pts. saved (75%) ) and is No. 3  in service games won (91%)…Here are the serving categories Isner ranks among the Top 10 leaders:
 2012 Rank Tourn. Rank   
Aces No. 1 (756) No. 1 (48)
Service Games Won No. 3 (91%) No. 1 (97%, 35 of 36 games held)
1st Serve Points Won No. 9 (77%) No. 3 (81%)
2nd Serve Points Won No. 7 (56%) No. 4 (65%) 
Break Points Saved No. 1 (75%) N/R (50%, 1 of 2)

(7) Sam Querrey (USA) vs (2-WC) Tomas Berdych (CZE) Tied 1-1
08 ATP Masters Series Miami (U.S.A.) Hard R64 Tomas Berdych 6-1 6-2
08 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R128 Sam Querrey 6-3 6-1 6-2

Querrey FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Los Angeles (d Berankis); SF(2): London / Queen's Club (l Cilic); Washington (l Dolgopolov); QF: Memphis (l Stepanek)
YTD W-L: 27-18 (18-10 on hard), 14-11 in Tie-breaks
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 7
Date of Birth: October 7, 1987
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 28

• Querrey, 24, has turned around his season after a slow start, winning 20 of his past 27 matches after a 7-11 start through Roland Garros (May)…Overall is 27-18 on the year (18-10 on hard)
• He’s playing in his fifth straight week and has lost to a pair of Top 5 opponents in last two weeks: third round at ATP Masters 1000 Toronto (d. Melzer, No. 17 Nishikori, l. to No. 2 Djokovic) and second round at ATP Masters 1000  Cincinnati (d. Melzer, l. to No. 4 Murray)
• He is looking for his first Top 10 win of the season (0-3) and 10-31 lifetime
• Leads the tournament in first serve pts. won (84%) and No. 2 in aces (44) behind Isner (48) while holding serve 33 of 36 games (92%), saving 11 of 14 break pts. (79%)
• Ranked a season-low No. 106 on April 2 and is a season-high No. 28 this week...Could move one or two more spots with title (230-point gap between 28 & 26)…Came in this week No. 2 in Emirates Airline US Open Series (behind leader Djokovic 170) and if he wins the title, he will capture the series title
• Four weeks ago captured his seventh career ATP World Tour title in Los Angeles (d. Berankis) without losing a set and followed with semi-final in Washington (l. to eventual champ Dolgopolov)
• Missed last summer’s tournaments after undergoing right elbow injury (surgery in June 2011) and came back to finish in Top 100 at No. 93
• In June, reached the semi-finals at the Queen’s Club in London (l. to Cilic) and also the quarters in Memphis (l. to Stepanek) in February…Reached third round at Wimbledon (d. Raonic, l. to Cilic 17-15 in fifth set in 5:31, second-longest match at All England Club, only behind 11:05-Isner d. Mahut in 2010)
• Played one Challenger tournament in Sarasota in April (on clay) and won title, defeating Russell in semi-finals and Lorenzi in final
• Has a 10-31 career record vs. Top 10 opponents (0-3 this year) and last win came over No. 8 Tsonga in Valencia last November…Highest-ranked win came over No. 4 Murray in 2010 Los Angeles final

HOT SUMMER RUN – Querrey has won 13 of 16 matches in the past five weeks and here’s a look back at his 2009 summer run in which he compiled a 16-5 hard court record in six consecutive weeks:
2009 Summer Hard court Results (16-5)
-Indianapolis (Finalist, 4-1)
-Los Angeles (Winner, 5-0)
-Washington (3R, 1-1)
-Montreal (1R, 0-1)
-Cincinnati (3R, 2-1)
-New Haven (Finalist, 4-1) 

Berdych FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Montpellier (d Monfils); F: ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid (l Federer); SF(2): Rotterdam (l Del Potro); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo (l Djokovic); QF(4): Australian Open (l Nadal); Dubai (l Murray); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (l Nadal); Halle (l Haas)
YTD W-L: 40-15 (22-7 on hard), 14-11 in Tie-breaks
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 7
Date of Birth: September 17, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 7

• Berdych, 26, the top player from the Czech Republic is compiling another consistent season with a 40-15 match record (22-7 on hard) with semi-finals for the fifth time this year (2-2 mark)…Has lost one set this week, defeating Alex Bogomolov Jr. 63 75, No. 16 seed Jarkko Nieminen 63 62 and Steve Darcis 46 62 60…Leads the tournament in return games won (12 of 30, 40%), converting 12 of 21 break points (57%) and has held serve  29 of 32 games (91%) 
• The past two weeks (after a bye) reached the third round at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Toronto (l. to Gasquet) and Cincinnati (l. to Raonic)
• His best result was capturing a seventh career ATP World Tour title in Montpellier, France on Feb. 5  (d. Monfils in final)…Also a runner-up at ATP Masters 1000 Madrid in May (l. to Federer), his third in an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final (1-2) and fifth on clay (2-3)
• Also a semi-finalist in Rotterdam (l. to No. 10 del Potro) in February and Monte-Carlo (l. to Djokovic) in April along with quarter-finalist at Australian Open (l. to No. 2 Nadal) and fourth round at Roland Garros (l. to del Potro) and first round at Wimbledon (l. to Gulbis)
• In April won both of his singles Davis Cup QF matches vs. Serbia, defeating Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic, both in straight sets…Czech Republic will play Argentina in SFs in September

REMATCH TIME – This could be the first of two meetings in the next week. If Berdych and Querrey win their first two matches at the US Open, they would square off in the third round at Flushing Meadows. Berdych is seeded No. 6 and Querrey No. 27. They are in the top quarter of the draw along with No. 1 Roger Federer.

POTENTIAL FINAL HEAD-TO-HEADS –

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs Sam Querrey (USA)  Tied 1-1
10 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Shanghai Hard R32 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(7)  6-1
11 Valencia (Spain) Hard R16 Sam Querrey 7-6(5)  6-2

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs Tomas Berdych (CZE)  Tied 1-1
11 Beijing (China) Hard SF Tomas Berdych 6-4 4-6 6-1
11 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals  Hard SF Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3 7-5
Other meeting:
04 Besancon CH (France) Hard R32 Tomas Berdych 4-6 6-1 6-4
 
John Isner (USA) vs Sam Querrey (USA)   Querrey Leads 2-1
10 Memphis (U.S.A.) Hard F Sam Querrey 6-7(3)  7-6(5) 6-3
10 ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells (USA)Hard R32 John Isner 7-6(3)  6-4
10 Belgrade (Serbia) Clay F Sam Querrey 3-6   7-6(4)  6-4

John Isner (USA) vs Tomas Berdych (CZE)   Berdych Leads 2-1
09 Washington (USA) Hard QF John Isner 6-3 6-7(10) 6-2
10 ATP World Team Chp. (Duesseldorf)Clay RR Tomas Berdych 1-6 6-1 7-6(4)
10 Roland Garros (France) Clay R32 Tomas Berdych 6-2 6-2 6-1

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