Monte Carlo - Tomas Berdych staged a fightback to
deny Andy Murray a third semi-final in four years at the Monte Carlo
Masters, with the Czech squeezing out a tight 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 6-3 win on
Friday to reach the final four.
Berdych, seeded sixth, will face
the winner from top seed Novak Djokovic, playing on despite learning on
Friday of the death in Serbia of his grandfather, and Dutch surprise
Murray could only be frustrated with himself after a
performance in which Berdych managed 16 break point chances and
converted on five. Murray had one opportunity on the Czech's serve but
was unable to take advantage.
Berdych girded for a battle on the
clay under sunny skies after losing the 74-minute opening set in a
tiebreaker. The former Wimbledon finalist took his chances and profitted
from a Murray miscue in a struggle lasting for just over two and
"I had to stay in the fight after the first
set," said the winner. "I had some bad luck in the tie-breaker, but my
game started getting stronger.
"I hope to keep playing my best
tennis on clay," said the Monte Carlo semi-finalist from 2007 who now
leads Murray 4-2 in their career series.
The big Czech stands 2-0 over the Scot on clay after a 2010 fourth-round win at Roland Garros.
looked like fighting through after the marathon opening set, where he
saved a total of seven break points - four of which were set points. But
after salting away the opener, he let his game drop.
Berdych turned the tide ending with 50 winners and 40 unforced errors from his go-for-broke style.
final set began with three consecutive breaks of serve before Berdych
steadied to earn the win on his first match point, a forehand winner to
The Berdych win was his 22nd of the season against just five losses.