• Berdych battles Kohlschreiber in Open Sud de France semis

    2/4/12 12:42 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Berdych battles Kohlschreiber in Open Sud de France semis Tomas Berdych aims for a place in the Montpellier final when he goes up against Philipp Kohlschreiber on Saturday. The winner will face either Gael Monfils or Gilles Simon for the title.

    Tomas Berdych and Philipp Kohlschreiber will be meeting for the eighth time in their careers when they duel in the Open Sud de France semifinals on Saturday.

    Berdych is dominating the head-to-head series 6-1, including 4-1 on hard courts. They faced each other last fall in Beijing, where Berdych destroyed Kohlschreiber 6-2, 6-0. Kohlschreiber's lone victory in the series came via a 7-6(5), 6-7(9), 6-4 decision at the 2009 Canada Masters.

    The underdog German should be able to make this one more competitive than their Beijing encounter because he is playing stellar tennis this season. Kohlschreiber took Rafael Nadal to three sets in Doha, reached the Auckland semis, and advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open. His 2012 record now stands at 9-3 after wins this week over Olivier Rochus, Edouard Roger-Vasselin, and Richard Gaquet.

    Berdych is also in outstanding form. The seventh-ranked Czech was part of the Hopman Cup-winning team before he won four matches in Melbourne and lost to Nadal in four competitive sets. So far in Montpellier, Berdych has taken out Florent Serra and Nicolas Mahut in easy straight sets.

    Kohlschreiber struck an amazing 18 aces without a single double-fault against Gasquet, and he will have upset on his mind if he can serve like that again. Either way, though, Berdych is a huge force on fast surfaces and his current level of play points to another straight-set victory.

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