• Berdych clashes with Wawrinka, Tipsarevic meets Malisse

    1/8/11 4:49 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Berdych clashes with Wawrinka, Tipsarevic meets Malisse Tomas Berdych and Stanislas Wawrinka will do battle in a marquee semifinal at the Chennai Open. Janko Tipsarevic and Xavier Malisse are also looking for a place in the title match.

    (1) Tomas Berdych vs. (3) Stanislas Wawrinka

    Familiar foes Berdych and Wawrinka will be squaring off for the eighth time in their careers when they battle for a spot in the final of the Aircel Chennai Open on Saturday. Berdych leads the head-to-head series 4-3, having prevailed most recently at a third-set tiebreaker at last year's Rome Masters. The sixth-ranked Czech has won three of four hard-court encounters between the two players, last getting the best of Wawrinka at the 2009 Australian Open.

    Both players are kicking off their 2010 campaigns in strong form. Berdych has decimated Frederico Gil, Ivan Dodig, and Blaz Kavcic all in straight sets. Wawrinka has taken out Rohan Bopanna, David Goffin, Robin Haase, losing just a single match to Haase in the quarterfinals. The 21st-ranked Swiss has been up-and-down with both his mental game and his play, but his one-handed backhand could give Berdych serious trouble. This should be a good one, and the No. 1 seed in three tight sets is the pick.

    Xavier Malisse vs. (6) Janko Tipsarevic

    If Tipsarevic's trend at the Chennai Open continues, he is in line to advance to the title match on Saturday. The 49th-ranked Serb has been stellar at this event, reaching the quarterfinals in 2009 and semis in 2010 (both times losing to eventual champion Marin Cilic). So far this week he has dismissed Eduardo Schwank, Alexandre Kudryavtsev, and Kei Nishikori all in straight sets.

    This time Tipsarevic does not have to face Cilic, with whom he was on a collision course for the quarters before Cilic lost his opener to Nishikori. Instead it's Malisse, who is simply on fire in Chennai. The 60th-ranked Belgian has routed Marsel Ilhan, Stephane Robert, and Bjorn Phau while dropping a mere 10 games in total, never more than three in any set. Based on current form, this could end up being the match of the tournament. Look for Tipsarevic to prevail in three entertaining sets.

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