Paris: Tomas Berdych guaranteed his place at the season-ending World Tour finals for the fifth straight year on Friday as he defeated South African Kevin Anderson to reach the semi-finals of the Paris Masters.
The Czech number one, who won the Bercy tournament on his debut in 2005, his only Masters win to date, came through a tight contest 6-7, (4/7), 6-4, 6-4 in just under three hours. He will now play either world number two Roger Federer or Canadian Milos Raonic for a place in Sunday's final. It was the 12th victory for Berdych over Anderson in 12 meetings.
Tomas Berdych celebrates his win over Kevin Anderson in the Paris Masters quarters yesterday. Pic/AFP
"We've had some very close matches and some five-setters but I think the statistics do not tell the real story," he said. "It's always tough against Kevin and today we played nearly three hours but I think it was a great match.
"I'm so happy and feel lucky to have made it through so now it's another semi-final and it's been a great tournament for me so far," added the Czech who had a 15 and 4 record in Slams this season, getting to the Australian Open semi-finals as well as the last eight at the French and US Opens. "I hope I can keep it going and keep playing good tennis," he added.
Berdych, who also reached the semi-finals of the Miami Masters where he withdrew with a stomach bug before facing Rafael Nadal, is chasing an 11th ATP title and third this year after victories at Rotterdam and Stockholm. Raonic, who is the only player who can break into the top eight in the Race to London, needs to defeat Federer and go on to win the tournament to guarantee his spot in the British capital.
The players now qualified are Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic, Andy Murray and Berdych with David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori holding the last two spots and trying to hold off Raonic. Following the Federer v Raonic clash, British number one Murray is next on court against world number one and defending champion Djokovic before Spanish fourth seed Ferrer tackles sixth seed Nishikori in the last quarter-final match-up.