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Berdych Reaches First Grand Slam SF

ATP NEWS: Berdych Reaches First Grand Slam SF

Paris, France

by ATP Staff  | 01.06.2010

Czech Tomas Berdych kept his cool on a rainy Tuesday at Roland Garros, reaching his first Grand Slam semi-final with a decisive 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 win over Russian Mikhail Youzhny.

The 24-year-old Berdych, who has yet to drop a set during the tournament, is the first player from the Czech Republic to reach the semi-finals at Roland Garros since 1992 when Petr Korda advanced to the final (l. to Courier).

"It's quite a lot of emotions just coming through, and it's just too quick after the match," said Berdych. "I don't have too much time to be thinking that I've reached the first semi-final in Grand Slam. But anyway, I'm feeling great. It's nice to be here. It's nice to be enjoying every day playing tennis here. That's what I'm trying to be here, and it works well."

Displaying the same form that led him past No. 4 Andy Murray in the fourth round, the 15th-seeded Berdych came out strong in his second career Grand Slam quarter-final (2007 Wimbledon) and grabbed the set lead against No. 11 seed Youzhny with two breaks of serve.

Though heavy rain halted play at 1-1 in the second set, Berdych stepped up his play upon returning to the court, reeling off five straight games to close out the second set in 27 minutes.

He maintained his focus following a second rain delay at 1-1 in the third set, winning four straight games when the match resumed and setting up his first match point on Youzhny’s serve. The Russian managed to hold, but merely prolonged the inevitable, as Berdych clinched the victory with a love service game on his next opportunity.

"The performance of my game was pretty good today," said Berdych. "On the other side, it was really tough conditions today again in Paris… I'm pretty happy that I can keep serving well also in this pretty wet, cold conditions. That's what I need, a good serve so I can play aggressive and play my tennis. It's what happened today."

Berdych, who earned his first Top 10 win at a major on Sunday against World No. 4 Murray, will attempt to continue his best Grand Slam performance when he next faces last year’s Roland Garros finalist and World No. 7 Robin Soderling.

Soderling leads the head-to-head series 4-3, but Berdych won won their one previous clay encounter in 2007 at Monte-Carlo and also their most recent meeting this past April in the Sony Ericsson Open semi-finals.

"I won that match, and so it could be kind of a small advantage, but here we're gonna play best of five sets, semi-final of the Grand Slam,” said Berdych. "That's, every time, different position for me, especially for me, because he already reach it last year. The key maybe is I will try just stay with my game as much as I can and try to profit from my strokes."

World No. 17 Berdych has now won eighth straight matches, including victories in his three round-robin matches at the ARAG ATP World Team Championship. He made three main draw appearances on clay ahead of Roland Garros, and posted his best result in Munich where he reached the quarter-finals (l. to Petzschner).

The former World No. 9 enjoyed a successful stretch on hard courts in the first quarter of the 2010 season, highlighted by his runner-up finish at the Sony Ericsson Open. He upset Roger Federer, Fernando Verdasco and Soderling to reach his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final (l. to Roddick).

The 27-year-old Youzhny was attempting to match his best Grand Slam result by reaching the semi-finals (2006 US Open). He had won the clay-court title at the BMW Open, at ATP World Tour 250 tournament in Munich, last month.