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Berdych Notches 50th Season Win; Monaco Falls

Tokyo, Japan

Berdych© AFP/Getty ImagesTomas Berdych won his 50th match of the season.

Second seed Tomas Berdych claimed his 50th match win of the season on Thursday at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo, defeating Alejandro Falla 6-3, 7-5 in the second round.

“I was feeling much better physically than in my first match,” said Berdych. “I was able to profit from that. I was serving well, was playing solid and when I had the chance, I took it. That’s why I was able to finish it in two sets.”

The Czech is bidding to triumph for the second time at the Ariake Tennis Forest Park, having topped Juan Martin del Potro in the 2008 final. Berdych has reached three finals in 2012, capturing the Montpellier crown (d. Monfils) and finishing runner-up at the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to Federer) and Winston-Salem (l. to Isner). He also advanced to his first US Open semi-final, upsetting World No. 1 Roger Federer along the way.

In the quarter-finals, the sixth-ranked Berdych will play No. 8 seed Kei Nishikori. After losing his opening set to Tommy Robredo, Japan’s No. 1-ranked player stormed past the Spaniard, winning 12 of the final 13 games in the match. In the third set, Nishikori won all 12 points on serve to advance to his first quarter-final on home soil in one hour and 56 minutes.

Nishikori is looking to end a title drought dating back to 2008, when as a qualifier, he captured his first ATP World Tour trophy in Delray Beach. He is coming off a semi-final run in Kuala Lumpur and improved to a 32-17 season record. Nishikori holds a 2-1 edge versus Berdych in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

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World No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic also reached the quarter-finals, easing past qualifier Marco Chiudinelli 6-4, 6-2. The third-seeded Tipsarevic hit 10 aces and saved all six break points against his serve to defeat the Swiss in one hour and 50 minutes. Entering this week, Tipsarevic is ranked ninth in the South African Airways ATP Rankings Race To London, which determines the eight qualifying players for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

For a place in the semi-finals, Tipsarevic will square off against sixth seed Milos Raonic. The Canadian advanced after Viktor Troicki retired from their second-round match down 0-3 in the first set with a right calf injury. Raonic edged Tipsarevic in a thrilling clash to win the ATP World Tour 250 event in Chennai at the start of the season.

Marcos Baghdatis upset No. 4 seed Juan Monaco 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 to win back-to-back matches for the first time since the London 2012 Olympics. Baghdatis converted the only break of serve in the final set to knock out last week’s Kuala Lumpur champion in two hours and 17 minutes, dashing the Argentine’s hopes of keeping pace in the Race To London.

“I’m very happy I’m here. Every time I come here, I love it,” said Baghdatis. “The people are great, the tournament is great, and the atmosphere in centre is very good. I just want to go out there to find a way to win and fight in every match.”

The Cypriot is aiming to win his first title since 2010, when he was victorious in Sydney. A win in the quarter-finals against qualifier Dmitry Tursunov would put Baghdatis through to the semi-final stage of an event for the first time since his last four showing in Zagreb (l. to Lacko). 

Turusnov defeated wild card Tatsuma Ito 7-5, 6-3 in a match interrupted by an electrical problem and a rain delay. The Russian will contest his first tour-level quarter-final of the season and is bidding to reach his first ATP World Tour semi-final since winning the ‘s-Hertogenbosch crown in 2011.

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