at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Tomas Berdych played impeccable tennis to defeat Ernests Gulbis 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday for a place in his first final at the Rotterdam World Tennis.
The Czech third seed will await an opponent for Sunday's final from Croatian Marin Cilic and Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands.
Berdych, who has not lost a set all week, dropped just six points on serve in the 29-minute first set as he quickly took charge against Latvia's Gulbis, who earned his place in the semis after putting out top-seeded holder Juan Martin del Potro.
Berdych is bidding for his first ATP title since October, 2012 and was the only member of the ranking top 10 not to lift a trophy during 2013 despite reaching the quarter-finals or better in 15 of his 23 tournaments.
The Czech, ranked seventh in the world, was satisfied after administering the thrashing to the 24th-ranked Gulbis.
He now leads the series 4-2 after playing Gulbis in each of the past six years.
“It was a tough one,” said the winner. “I know his game well and I know how good he can play. I knew I had to bring my best game today.
“I played consistent and solid, that is what it takes. it's a formula that has worked so far for me in my career.
“But no matter whom I play in the final, I will have to lift my level. I'm trying to improve my concentration and not ever get distracted on court. I'm playing well, this was a good win for me.”
Berdych took the initiative with a break for 3-1 in the opening set, enough of a margin to win it for a solid early lead.
Gulbis was unable to make inroads in the second set as Berdych tightened his grip, earning a break for 5-2 after saving the only break point he faced in the match in the fourth game.
The Czech then claimed victory from two consecutive unforced errors from Gulbis. – AFP