PORTUGAL OPEN 2014
Berdych Earns Oeiras Final Berth, Awaits Berlocq on Sunday
by ATP Staff|
Berdych advances to face Carlos Berlocq in the Oeiras final. The top Czech will vie for his third clay-court title and first since hoisting the trophy at the 2009 BMW Open by FWU AG Munich in 2009 (d. Youzhny). It will be his 22nd tour-level final overall.
"It will be great," said Berdych. "It's always a pleasure to get to the final stages of the week in tournaments. I'm really looking forward to it.
"This is the way I want to perform on the clay. You need the days like yesterday to battle through tough situations and get the good results. I want to improve my game at this level and go higher and higher."
Watch Semi-final Highlights
The World No. 6 improved to 24-5 in 2014 with the win over Hanescu, needing just over one hour to claim victory. He fired five aces and converted on all four break points garnered. Berdych will contest his first final since ending a 16-month title drought at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament earlier this year in Rotterdam.
Hanescu, meanwhile, was bidding for his 200th tour-level win.
In the second semi-final, Carlos Berlocq handed Daniel Gimeno-Traver a 7-6(6), 6-2 defeat in 93 minutes. Berlocq moves into his third ATP World Tour final, having claimed his maiden title last July at the SkiStar Swedish Open (d. Verdasco).
Berlocq is the sixth different Argentine to reach the Oeiras final since 2003 and will look to follow in the footsteps of former champions and countrymen Juan Martin del Potro (2011-12), David Nalbandian (2002, '06), Gaston Gaudio (2005) and Juan Ignacio Chela (2004).
"I am happy to win this semi-final," said Berlocq. "It was without a doubt a mental match. I fought hard with my beliefs. I felt my shots were tense in the tie-break and it's not easy to play with this wind, but the important thing is I played better than him and got the victory."
Berdych owns a 3-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head edge over Berlocq, having most recently defeated the 31 year old in straight sets in the 2012 Davis Cup semi-finals.
The third seeds saved all five break points they faced to beat Gastao Elias and Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-3 in 65 minutes on Saturday at the Estadio Nacional, venue of the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tournament.
Gonzalez has a 7-2 record in ATP World Tour finals, while Lipsky is 10-7 overall in title matches.