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Simon Holds Off Berdych For SF Spot; Janowicz Strikes Again

Paris, France

Simon© Getty ImagesGilles Simon is bidding to reach his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final.

France’s Gilles Simon reached the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Masters for the first time on Friday in Paris-Bercy as he held off a second-set comeback from fifth seed Tomas Berdych to prevail 6-4, 6-4.

"I'm happy to play well here this year, because when I was young I grew up nearby and I came to see this tournament. It's a very special tournament to me," said Simon. "I always wanted to do well here. Until today, I always played awfully bad when I came here, so I'm trying to enjoy this year in Paris."

After losing the first set, Berdych led by a break early in the second set and had chances for a 4-0 lead. Simon fought back, though, and won six of the last seven games, rallying from 0/40 in the final game, to claim his fifth victory in seven meetings with Berdych.

"I had good feelings today, and I made very few unforced errors," said Simon. "So he had to do the work and fight a lot. I was very consistent during the whole match. I know when I play him that I have some weapons that can bother him, and I did well today."

The 27-year-old Simon will look to reach the second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final of his career when he faces Polish qualifier Jerzy Janowicz. Four years ago he finished runner-up to Andy Murray in the Mutua Madrid Open final. The Nice native has a 43-24 match record on the season.

Berdych now heads to London to compete at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which begins Monday at The O2.

Giant-killer Janowicz continued his stunning run at the Palais Omnisports as he defeated eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic to become the first Polish player to reach an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final. The 21 year old was leading 3-6, 6-1, 4-1 when Tipsarevic was forced to retire due to illness.

"In the second and third set I just played the best tennis of my life," said Janowicz. "I didn't know actually I can play that good. It's really not easy for me to realise what is going on in my life right now. Right now I'm playing the best tennis of my life, and I hope tomorrow I can play even better. I don't know what I should expect from myself, but I hope I will not finish tomorrow this tournament yet."

A day earlier, Janowicz had stunned World No. 3 Andy Murray, backing up his two wins in qualifying and main draw victories over Philipp Kohlschreiber and No. 13 seed Marin Cilic. He started the season ranked World No. 221 and is set to rise to around No. 39 next week on the strength of reaching his first ATP World Tour semi-final.

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