Berdych advances in Rotterdam, Cilic sets up quarterfinal showdown against Tsonga – By Ricky Dimon

Written by: on 16th February 2017
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Tennis Australian Open 2017
Berdych advances in Rotterdam, Cilic sets up quarterfinal showdown against Tsonga - By Ricky Dimon

epa05734362 Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic in action against Roger Federer of Switzerland during their Men's Singles third round match for the Australian Open tennis tournament, in Melbourne, Australia, 20 January 2017. EPA/MADE NAGI  |
By Ricky Dimon
Needing a big week to kick-start a 2017 campaign that has not really gotten off the ground, Tomas Berdych booked his spot in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament quarterfinals by beating Richard Gasquet 7-6(4), 6-1 on Thursday afternoon. Berdych fired 10 aces without double-faulting to advance in one hour and 19 minutes.

The 13th-ranked Czech, who got a bad draw at the Australian Open and got blown out by eventual champion Roger Federer in the third round, did little wrong against Gasquet. Berdych broke serve four times–including on three occasions in the second set.

“They were two very different sets,” the victor assessed. “The beginning wasn’t ideal, as Goran (Ivanisevic) said. I didn’t show up for the beginning. Luckily I picked up very quickly, found my rhythm, then played a very good and tough first set. It was a solid tiebreak for me.

“From the beginning of the second set I started applying more and more pressure, coming to the net more, and he felt that pressure and gave me a couple of chances. An early break helps a lot and it snowballed from there. It was a good performance today.”

Marin Cilic reached the last eight in slightly more difficult fashion, as he held off fellow Croat Borna Coric 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 after one hour and 57 minutes. Cilic served at 70 percent and cracked 11 aces compared to only two double-faults.

Next up for the world No. 7 is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, while Berdych will face defending champion Martin Klizan.

Cilic and Tsonga will be doing battle for the seventh time in their careers at the ATP level on Friday. The head-to-head series stands at 5-1 in favor of Cilic, who has taken four straight against Tsonga dating back to the 2013 season. They have not squared off since a contentious 2015 U.S. Open quarterfinal encounter, won by Cilic 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(3), 6-4.

In need of a big week, Cilic preceded his defeat of Coric with a three-set victory over Benoit Paire. Still, he is a mere 3-3 this season with setbacks against Jozef Kovalik in Chennai, Dan Evans at the Australian Open, and Dustin Brown in Montpellier.

Tsonga’s year, on the other hand, is off to a solid start. The 14th-ranked Frenchman advanced the quarterfinals in Doha and Melbourne prior to a semifinal finish last week in Montpellier. So far in Rotterdam he has cruised past Stefanos Tsitsipas and Gilles Muller.

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand.

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