Berdych sets up Cilic final
Beijing - Czech Tomas Berdych ousted top-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 on Saturday to set up a China Open final against Marin Cilic.
In the women's draw, Agnieszka Radwanska will be seeking her second title in two weeks when she takes on Andrea Petkovic in Sunday's final.
Tsonga had been aiming to reach consecutive finals, after winning the Moselle Open last month, but the Frenchman's baseline drives too often went long against Berdych. Despite taking the second set, he seemed to lose focus in the third as Berdych broke him twice to set up the win.
"The chance was here. I'm happy to take this chance to be in the final," said the third-seeded Berdych, who progressed to his first final of the season.
A win on Sunday would be a major boost toward the Czech's hopes of securing one of four remaining spots at the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London.
"This match could really change my season from a good season to a really good season," Berdych said.
Cilic for his part continued his recent run of good form with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Ivan Ljubicic. The two big-hitting Croats combined for 22 aces.
"Today was a really tough match, especially that first set," Cilic said. "You could feel the tension in the air."
Winning against the player who beat him in the first round at Wimbledon was a further confidence boost, he said.
"That means a lot, that I can beat those guys and my tennis is at a good level and on a level that's high enough to play against those guys and beat them," Cilic said.
Radwanska, the winner of last week's Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, beat Flavia Pennetta 6-2, 6-4, to improve her career record against the Italian to 3-1.
"I knew she'd been playing well the last couple of weeks so I was really focusing on my game from the beginning," Radwanska said. "I was just happy to close this game in two sets."
The Polish player has won her four previous meetings with Petkovic, including twice this year, but Radwanska said she wasn't expecting an easy time on Sunday.
"It's always very tough and very tight against Andrea," the 11th-seeded Radwanska said. "She's playing very well, very consistent. I think I'll have to play even better than today to beat her tomorrow."
Earlier in the day, ninth-seeded Petkovic downed Monica Niculescu 6-2, 6-0.
Petkovic said she drew confidence from her increasingly steady performances, having reached the quarter-finals at each of this year's Australian, French and US Opens. Saturday's win marked her first victory in three meetings with the Romanian.
"I was really satisfied with the intensity and the focus I managed to have with each and every point and I think that made the difference today," the German said.
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