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Berdych Breaks New Ground In Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia

Berdych© Getty ImagesTomas Berdych reaches his first Australian Open semi-final.

After quarter-final exits the past three years, Tomas Berdych finally broke through to reach the final four at the Australian Open. The 28-year-old Czech defeated World No. 3 David Ferrer 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 Tuesday afternoon to complete his set of Grand Slam semi-final appearances.

“That was definitely the thing [on] my agenda,” said Berdych on court following the match, before revealing an extra piece of motivation given to him by coach Tomas Krupa. “He just reminded me quickly, this is the only court that you haven’t [won] a match yet. So this is my first win on Rod Laver.

"It's really a great feeling," said Berdych in his press conference. "There were some special moments which went well together in this match, making it for the first time here in the Aussie Open to the semis, winning my first match on Rod Laver after all those years. That's been a very special match to me. I'm extremely happy to go through."

Berdych had spent three hours less on court than the 31-year-old Ferrer through the first four rounds, and continued his impressive form to start the quarter-final encounter, racing through the opening set in 30 minutes.

He looked on his way to a straight-sets win after earning three break point chances early in the third set, but could not take advantage. Ferrer fought back and broke the Czech twice to extend his Australian Open campaign.

Watch Match Highlights

In the fourth set, the tables turned with Ferrer unable to capitalise on his five opportunities to break serve, including one in the final game. Berdych seized his first opportunity to take a 3-2 lead and held on for the three hour victory.

“It was extremely tough, and physically very tough and hard match with David always,” said Berdych, who now trails the Spaniard 5-7 in the FedEx ATP Head2Head.

“After losing the third set, I was really not playing my best and I would say it was so far the only set where I was up and down. After that I was trying to refocus on my game again. Just tried to stay focused for every single point and saved one very tough game on my serve in the fourth and then made a break, and that was the deciding [factor].

"Really, it counts in the end that I won three sets. I couldn't expect that all of the matches will be straight sets. Definitely not with David. He's a really huge, huge fighter. That's what he proved today."

Berdych is the 23rd man in the Open Era to reach the semi-finals at all four majors and the second Czech after Ivan Lendl. He equals the record for most Australian Open appearances before reaching the semi-finals, joining Colin Dibley and Mark Woodforde, who also accomplished the feat on their 11th visit.

The Czech will look to reach his second Grand Slam final when he faces the winner between defending champion Novak Djokovic and Stanislas Wawrinka. Djokovic ousted Berdych in both 2011 and ’13 in Melbourne, but the Czech earned his place in the 2010 Wimbledon final with victory over the Serbian in the semi-finals.

Ferrer was contesting his ninth successive Grand Slam quarter-final, and was attempting to reach the Australian Open semi-finals for the third time in four years.

"Tomas started playing very well," said Ferrer. "Me, not so good the first and part of the second set. I was a little bit tired. But, well, in the third and in the fourth I played better. I played with more power with my shots. I can move my forehand. I had my chance in the fourth set. But in important moments Tomas served very good and he did good winners."

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