Berdych Wins All-Czech Contest; Cilic Reaches Semis
Robredo up next for Berdych
Top seed Tomas Berdych won an all-Czech contest with Jiri Vesely 6-3, 6-2 on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Shenzhen Open.
The 30-year-old Berdych bested his 22-year-old countryman in one hour and 35 minutes, saving the four break points he faced and capitalising on three of his seven opportunities on Vesely's serve. It was the pair's first meeting on the ATP World Tour.
Berdych is through to his eighth tour-level semi-final in what has been a banner year for the right-hander. Working with new coach, Dani Vallverdu, Berdych is on course to achieve a career-best year-end position of No. 5 in the Emirates ATP Rankings and qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the sixth straight year. The Czech is fifth in the Emirates ATP Race To London and next in line to qualify for the Final Showdown in London.
Berdych is looking to win his first ATP World Tour title of the season this week, following runner-up finishes in Doha (l. to Ferrer), Rotterdam (l. to Wawrinka) and Monte-Carlo (l. to Djokovic). He has a 47-16 match record in 2015.
In the semi-finals, Berdych will meet Tommy Robredo for the 11th time. Berdych leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 6-4 and has lost just four games in their past two matches.
Robredo advanced to his second semi-final of the season as he rallied from behind to defeat Simone Bolelli 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 52 minutes. The Spaniard is chasing his 13th ATP World Tour title this week after finishing runner-up to Benoit Paire in Bastad in July.
Another Barclays ATP World Tour Finals contender, Marin Cilic, reached the semi-finals with a 7-6(6), 6-4 victory over Korean teenager Hyeon Chung. The second seed struck 15 aces and converted his three break points on Chung’s serve to prevail in one hour and 35 minutes. The 19-year-old Chung was contesting his first ATP World Tour quarter-final. Currently World No. 58, Chung is aiming to push on and reach No. 35, thus becoming the highest-ranked male player in history from South Korea.
The 27-year-old Cilic needs a big late season push if he is to return to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals after making his debut last year. The Croatian is 13th in the Emirates ATP Race To London, with the Top 8 at the end of the regular season qualifying for the season finale.
For a place in his first ATP World Tour final of the season, US Open semi-finalist Cilic will face fourth seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who was given a walkover into the semi-finals when Adrian Mannarino withdrew from their match with a leg injury. Cilic has lost his past two meetings with Garcia-Lopez and trails their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 1-2.