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Berdych Sets Nadal SF Clash

Beijing, China

Berdych© Getty ImagesTomas Berdych is looking beat Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2006.

Fourth seed Tomas Berdych set a China Open semi-final clash with would-be World No. 1 Rafael Nadal on Friday in Beijing after he overcame eighth seed John Isner 7-5, 6-2 in 90 minutes. 

Berdych will look to delay Nadal’s return to the top of the Emirates ATP Rankings when they play for the 19th time on Saturday. Berdych trails their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 3-15, including three losses this year, but after watching the Spaniard’s performance against Fabio Fognini, he believes he has a slight chance to beat Nadal for the first time since 2006.

"I had the experience already this year a couple of times,” the Czech told “It's always a great match. The chance is there, but he's really on a run and playing well. But I saw a couple of games today and there might be a chance. I will look for it and try to do my best. It's a semi-final of a great tournament, with such a strong field. So I will try to enjoy it and try to play my best and let's hope.”

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Berdych came from behind in both sets to beat Isner in their fifth meeting. He trailed 3-5 in the first set before reeling off four straight games to take the opener. He then rallied from an early break down in the second set, breaking serve three times.

"He's a very difficult opponent,” said Berdych. “It was not one of my best [performances] today, but that's how it is. I would say it was quite a strange game. There were a few mistakes in my game, but in the end I was able to take my chances and win in straight sets. But I was looking for a better game from myself today.”

Berdych is the only member of the Top 10 without an ATP World Tour title this season, having finished runner-up in Marseille (l. to Tsonga), Dubai (l. to Djokovic) and last week in Bangkok (l. to Raonic). Currently fifth in the Emirates ATP Race To London, he is looking to boost his bid to join Novak Djokovic, Nadal and Andy Murray at the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.

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