|Posted on October 1, 2016 at 6:55 PM|
Tomas Berdych in action during his men's singles semi-final match against Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil at Shenzhen Open ATP tennis tournament in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong province on Saturday, October 1, 2016. Berdych won 6-2, 7-5.
Berdych Blasts Into 30th Tour-Level Final
ATP Staff | Saturday, October 1, 2016
Czech to face Richard Gasquet for Shenzhen title
Tomas Berdych took a significant step in his quest to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for a seventh consecutive year, downing Thomaz Bellucci 6-2, 7-5 in the Shenzhen Open semi-finals. He will face off against Richard Gasquet for the title.
Defending champion Berdych needed one hour and 22 minutes to dispatch his Brazilian opponent, securing his place in the Shenzhen final once again. He fired nine aces and claimed an impressive 88 per cent first serve points, while converting four of 10 break chances.
"It's always a pleasure to play in front of a full stadium here," said Berdych. "Today it was a great atmosphere and a great time to be on the court. I like the courts and the conditions and once you get a good result, it's a place you want to come back to."
"I was struggling physically the past few weeks, so it's nice to be playing some matches and tomorrow I will have a chance to go for the title. Things are going well."
Berdych, who claimed the inaugural edition of the ATP World Tour 250 event last year (d. Garcia-Lopez), currently resides at No. 9 in the Emirates ATP Race To London. The Czech is less than 500 points behind Rafael Nadal for the coveted eighth and final spot. A title would move him to just 330 points back.
Bellucci, who was appearing in his first ATP World Tour semi-final on hard courts in four years, would not go down quietly with his back against the wall on Saturday. With Berdych serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set, the Brazilian broke to love and drew level a game later. But the Czech would claim a break to love of his own in the 12th game, sealing the victory on his first match point.
Berdych extends his FedEx ATP Head2Head edge over Bellucci to 4-1, advancing to his 30th tour-level final and first of the year. His most recent title match had come on the indoor hard courts of Stockholm (d. Sock) nearly one year ago. Deadlocked at seven wins apiece in their rivalry, he faces a familiar opponent in Gasquet on Sunday. The Czech took their lone encounter of 2016, at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Miami.
Tomas Berdych celebrates after winning his men's singles semi-final match against Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil at Shenzhen Open ATP tennis tournament in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong province on Saturday, October 1, 2016. Berdych won 6-2, 7-5.