By Fernie Ruano, Jr.
In the afternoon men’s quarterfinal at the 2014 Sony Open Tennis, No. 7 seed Tomas Berdych scored a 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) hard-fought victory over No. 22 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov. Berdych hasn’t dropped a set all week and the 28-year-old Czech notched his 450th career victory against the Ukrainian.
Berdych, whose best Key Biscayne run came in 2010 when he defeated then-No. 1 Roger Federer before losing in the finals to Andy Murray, is into the semis, where he will face the winner of the quarterfinal between No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 12 Milos Raonic, in a match scheduled for Thursday evening. Berdych improved to 24-9 all-time in the tournament.
Aided by a powerful serve – which topped out at 137 mph – and winning 82% of his first serves, Berdych took the first set in 50 minutes. His precision groundstrokes had Dolgopolov running all over the court and his net game proved overpowering. Berdych finished with 26 winners and converted 9 of 11 net points.
But Dolgopolov, making his first quarterfinals appearance in Key Biscayne just weeks after a stunning victory over Nadal in Indian Wells, broke Berdych in the fifth game of the second set and held in the sixth to go up 4-2. But up 5-3, Dolgopolov could not hold a two-game lead, as Berdych fought back from 15-30 in the 10th game to force deuce before earning a break to even things up, 5-5.
Berdych had four straight winners to hold serve before taking a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker in route to the victory.