|Posted on January 3, 2019 at 5:40 PM|
Czech wild card Tomas Berdych, competing in his first tournament since the 2018 Fever-Tree Championships, beat Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-2, 6-4 in 71 minutes. It is Berdych's first tour-level semi-final since February 2018 in Marseille, and he will play fourth seed Marco Cecchinato, who beat Dusan Lajovic 7-6(2), 6-2.
Competing in his first tournament since June and Queen's, 2015 Doha finalist Tomas Berdych is back in the semi-final for the fourth time at this tournament after a 6-2 6-4 win over Pierre-Hugues Herbert in just 71 minutes. Struggling with a back injury, the 33-year-old Czech had to miss the second part of 2018 and he has found the form early on in the new season, dropping just 11 points in nine service games and fending off both break points he faced to keep the pressure on Herbert who failed to match those numbers behind his initial shot.
The Frenchman lost 42% of the points in his games and he suffered three breaks from six chances to hit the exit door in the quarter-final following a triumph over the 2nd seed Dominic Thiem. Berdych was on a roll in the opening set, losing four points on serve and winning five consecutive points on the return at 1-1 to forge an early lead.
Herbert suffered another break in game five and he had to save two set points at 1-5, repelling them to at least prolong the set for one more game. Serving for the set, Tomas fired three service winners for a 6-2 after 29 minutes and he grabbed another break at the start of the second set after a deep return that Pierre-Hugues failed to control.
Berdych saved two break points in the fourth game with booming serves and he cemented the triumph with four unreturned serves at 5-4 to book the place in the semi-final, thrilled with the way he performed in the opening three opening matches here in Doha.