Federer erases his doubts with battling win over Berdych
Roger Federer took a revenge win Friday over the man who had beaten him twice this season, fighting from 5-2 down in the final set to overcome Tomas Berdych 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (7-5) and reach the semi-finals of the Toronto Masters, dpa reported.
The dramatic victory in just over two and a half hours was even sweeter as it eased memories of losses to Berdych last spring in Miami as well as in a Wimbledon quarter-finals.
Federer will play second seed Novak Djokovic who dispatched 72nd-ranked French challenger Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-3. The other semi-final puts defender Andy Murray against world number one Rafael Nadal.
Berdych was unable to serve out victory leading 5-3, with 16-time Grand Slam winner Federer closing the gap and forcing a tiebreaker. The Swiss streaked to 4-0, overcame three unforced errors and finally set up a match point, which he converted as Berdych sent a return long.
"Serving it out is never easy, even for the top guys," said Federer, "He missed a couple of forehands and that made the difference. There was a lot of work on my side,
"This is the kind of close match I was losing early in the year. It was tough. I had the match under control, like in Miami (he had match points), but I had to fight to finally win.
"I had a good start, chances in the second, and then it I thought was going to slip away again like at the beginning of the season. But I was able to turn it around."
Top seed Nadal needed a recovery effort to overcome inspired German Philipp Kohlschreiber 3-6, 6-3, 6- 4 with the Spaniard moving through to a weekend semi-final with Murray, against whom he stands 8-3.
Nadal dropped the first set against Kohlschreiber, who only days ago spent a training week with Federer.
Nadal levelled by taking the second and breaking in the seventh game of the third on his way to his seventh consecutive win against Kohlschreiber.
Defending champion Murray posted an overwhelming 6-2, 6-2 defeat of Argentine David Nalbandian, ending an 11-match winning streak for the surging South American.
"This is the favourite surface for him," he said of Murray and hardcourt. "I've had good battles against him in every surface, but on hard I have few wins.
Murray, who led the ATP with six titles in 2009, is still seeking his first of 2010 more than halfway through the year. He has missed opportunities in finals at the Australian Open and Los Angeles.
"It was one of the best matches I've played this year. I played very well in Australia (where he lost to Federer in the final), and then for a few months after that I didn't play particularly well.
"It definitely gives me confidence for the rest of the tournament, and the rest of the US stretch."