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Tsonga Saves Five Match Points To Edge Tomic; Berdych Advances

Marseille, France

Berdych© Yohan Brandt - Open 13Berdych served 11 aces in his win over Janowicz

World No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga saved five match points to edge Bernard Tomic 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(10) on Friday in the Open 13 quarter-finals in Marseille. The Frenchman fired 19 aces and was thwarted on eight of his nine break points by Tomic in the two-hour, five-minute contest.

The 27-year-old Tsonga is through to the semi-finals in Marseille for the fourth time; he went on to win the title in 2009 (d. Llodra). A quarter-finalist at the Australian Open, where he stretched Roger Federer to five sets, Tsonga improved to a 7-2 match record on the season.

Tsonga will face sixth seed Gilles Simon for a spot in his 17th tour-level final after the 28 year old ousted second seed and defending champion Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 6-3 in 82 minutes. Simon leveled his FedEx ATP Head2Head series at 3-3 with del Potro as he broke serve once in each set and saved the three break points he faced.

"I tried to make winners all the time but I made a lot of mistakes and he got control of the match," del Potro admitted. "He made fantastic passing shots and very good returns...he was too solid for me," the Argentine said.

Simon is through to his second ATP World Tour semi-final in as many weeks, having fallen to Julien Benneteau in the last four in Rotterdam last week. The 28 year old is looking to win the Marseille crown for the second time, following victory in 2007 (d. Baghdatis).

He has won two of six meetings against Tsonga, including their most recent encounter at the 2012 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

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Top seed Tomas Berdych was given a stern test by Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz, but prevailed with a 6-3, 6-7(0), 6-3 victory in just under two hours. The Czech hit 11 aces to 16 from Janowicz and did not face a break point in the pair’s first meeting.

"It was really about the small chances that I was waiting for.  You have to be really focused, really solid on your side and that's what I was able to do today," said Berdych, who said Janowicz's big serve meant his game was similar to players like Ivo Karlovic and John Isner.

"Thank God there [are] not more players like this," the Czech joked, describing them as both difficult and dangerous.

The 27-year-old Berdych is through to the semi-finals in Marseille for the first time in five visits. The right-hander, who reached the Australian Open quarter-finals, is bidding to win his ninth ATP World Tour title this week.

In the semi-finals, Berdych will face qualifier Dmitry Tursunov who reached his first ATP World Tour semi-final since titling in June 2011 at the UNICEF Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch by battling past Gilles Muller 7-6(7), 1-6, 7-5 in just over two hours. The Russian had ousted fourth seed Janko Tipsarevic in the second round.

“Playing in qualifying for the third tournament this year, I really didn’t expect this,” admitted former World No. 20 Tursunov. “I wasn’t really looking that far ahead and I think that kind of helped me, I was just trying to play one match at a time. 

“It’s a long way to go to get back to No. 20, but it’s definitely good for me to get back to winning, especially indoors, which is usually my favourite surface. I need to work to try and improve my game, try to stay healthy and be able to play like this week in, week out.”

Berdych has a 5-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head lead over the Russian, though the pair have not played since 2011. 

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