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Berdych Rallies Past Darcis, Will Play Querrey In SFs

Winston-Salem, U.S.A.

Berdych© Getty ImagesTomas Berdych won nine of his 12 service games against Steve Darcis.

Second-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych was forced to battle past Steve Darcis of Belgium for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 victory on Thursday to book his place in the Winston-Salem Open semi-finals.

Coming into the pair’s second meeting, Berdych had not had his serve broken in 20 games at the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tournament. But Darcis broke twice in the first set, before Berdych fought back to win 53 of 80 points in the second and third sets.

"He started playing really well, without many mistakes," said Berdych. "I needed to change something. So I’m happy to finish the way I did. I stepped closer to the baseline; hit the ball quicker after the bounce to force him back closer to the fence. That's the way I need to play."

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It was Berdych’s 40th match win of the season (40-15 overall). He will next bid to reach his third ATP World Tour final of the year, following a runner-up finish at the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to Federer) and title success at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier (d. Monfils).

Berdych will next play seventh-seeded American Sam Querrey, who prevailed against Ukrainian No. 4 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(3) after two hours and 11 minutes. Querrey won 82 per cent of points behind his first serve and struck 20 aces to defeat Dolgopolov for the first time in three meetings. Dolgopolov had won their Washington semi-final clash earlier this month en route to the ATP World Tour 500 title.

“It feels good to get that win today, and the matches are just going to get tougher,” said Querrey. “I’m going to have to keep playing better if I want to keep winning. It looks like Berdych played well today, especially the second and third sets, so it’s going to be a tough one.”

World No. 28 Querrey is playing his fifth straight week on the ATP World Tour, and advances to his third semi-final of the summer hard-court swing. In addition to Washington, he captured the title in July at the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles (d. Berankis).

He entered the week at No. 2 in the 2012 Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge standings, trailing Novak Djokovic, and will surpass the Serbian should he triumph this week in Winston-Salem. Querrey won the US Open Series Bonus Challenge in 2009.

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