Melbourne – Tomas Berdych fought off the tenacious David Ferrer in four sets to win through to his first Australian Open semi-final on Tuesday.
The Czech seventh seed outlasted the Spanish third seed 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in just over three hours and will play either defending champion Novak Djokovic or Stanislas Wawrinka for a place in the final.
The victory means that Berdych has now completed a set of semi-final appearances at all four Grand Slams.
“It is always an extremely tough and physical match with David and after losing the third set I was not playing my best and it was the only set where I was a bit up and down,” Berdych said.
“After that I tried to refocus on my game and save for one very tough game on my serve in the fourth. I then made a break and that proved decisive.”
Berdych began confidently winning the first two sets but in the process had his powerful serve broken after 60 consecutive holds in the tournament.
Ferrer, bidding for his third Australian Open semi-final, hit back by winning the third set and looked to be getting on top of the tiring Czech as the match entered a fourth set.
But Berdych broke Ferrer' s serve in the fifth game of the that set and served out for the match.
It was Berdych's first win on the main Rod Laver Arena in his 11th Australian Open campaign.
The Czech had his serve broken three times in the match but broke Ferrer's serve five times and won 78 percent of his first serve points along with 10 aces.
Berdych managed to win despite making 62 unforced errors to his 43 winners while Ferrer made 23 errors on his strong forehand.
It was the seventh seed's fifth victory in 12 encounters with Ferrer in what was their first meeting at a Grand Slam.
In getting the win, Berdych became the first Czech to reach the last four in Melbourne since Jiri Novak in 2002. – AFP