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Djokovic Denies Haas 500th Match Win; Berdych Beats Fellow London Contender

Shanghai, China

Berdych© AFP/Getty ImagesTomas Berdych celebrates beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the second time in three meetings.

Novak Djokovic will take a 9-1 lead against Tomas Berdych in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series on Saturday when the pair meet in the Shanghai Rolex Masters semi-finals.

“It’s always a big challenge when you're playing a top 10 player, especially when somebody who is an established one,” said Djokovic. “Tomas has been winning against top players on different surfaces in the last couple of years, so he knows how to play on a big stage and he knows how to play in big moments. It's going to be tough. But I've been playing well, too. So I'll try to look for my chances tomorrow from the baseline and see how it goes.”

Second seed Djokovic required 82 minutes to beat Tommy Haas 6-3, 6-3 in 82 minutes on Friday. It denied Haas the 500th match win of his career, but the German's run to the quarter-finals ensures that on Monday he will return into the Top 20 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings for the first time since 10 May 2010.

Djokovic converted five of his nine break points and hit four aces to improve to an ATP World Tour-best 68-11 match record on the season, which includes a 4-5 record in title matches.

“I've been winning a lot of matches [recently], so it's something that is always welcome when you want to have confidence, when you want to feel good about yourself on the court. Winning matches is the ultimate goal for every athlete. My return games were exceptional. So it's something that gave me a lot of confidence today.”

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Earlier in the day, Berdych knocked out his fellow Barclays ATP World Tour Finals contender Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Friday for a place in his first semi-final in Shanghai.

The fourth-seeded Czech notched his 53rd match win of the season by overcoming fourth seed Tsonga 6-3, 7-6(4) in one hour and 35 minutes. Berdych won 79 per cent of his service points and hit nine aces. He saved all four break points he faced to improve to 5-10 against Top 10 players in the South African Airways ATP Rankings this year.

"I think it was really solid game and solid performance from beginning until the end," said Berdych. "I think the biggest difference between me and Jo was I was able to take the small chances during the first and especially the second set. It was not many of them, but I was able to keep it and convert it on my side."

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On Saturday, Berdych will be looking to reach his fourth ATP World tour final of the year. The 27 year old captured his seventh career ATP World Tour title at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier (d. Monfils) in February and reached finals at the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to Federer) and Winston-Salem Open (l. to Isner after holding three match points).

"Today, I didn't play my best tennis," said Tsonga. "Unfortunately, today Tomas was a lot better than me." When asked about the differences between him and the Top 4, he admitted, "There is the difference that technically, I think, they're a bit better than me. I have to improve. They are also physically better than me. I'm working to join them." 

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