ATP 250 Shenzhen (Outdoor Hard) : More than 10 years after their first meeting on the ATP Tour, Tomas Berdych and Richard Gasquet will play for the title in Shenzhen, following a straight sets wins on Saturday. This will be their 15th H2H match, with nothing between them so far, as both players scored 7 wins.
The 3rd seed and world number 18, Richard Gasquet, advanced to his second ATP final of the season (Montpellier, his first tournament in 2016) and 26th overall (13-12) after a commanding 6-2 4-1 triumph over Janko Tipsarevic, who was forced to retire after the 5th game of the second set. The match lasted only 56 minutes and it was all about Gasquet, who controlled the result against world number 224, who enter the main draw with a protected ranking (this was the first ATP semi-final for Janko after the start of 2013 and Chennai).
Gasquet was charging in his service games, losing just 4 points in 6 games and he was also dominant figure on the return as well, breaking Tipsarevic 4 times from 6 chances. Janko was solid in his opening 2 service games, leading 2-1 before Gasquet has shifted into a higher gear to win remaining 5 games, including 2 easy breaks of serve in games 5 and 7, for a 6-2.
Tipsarevic has played well this week, showing a glimpse of an old form, but he wasn't a match for Gasquet today, making too many errors and obviously struggling physically as the match progresses. After he lost serve for the second time in the second set in game 5, he retired due to right leg injury, as Gasquet marched on to the title match after not spending too much time on the court.
The first seed and defending champion Tomas Berdych will play in his first ATP final since Stockholm in late October last season and the 30th overall after a 6-2 7-5 victory over Thomaz Bellucci in 81 minutes of play. Berdych's first serve made the biggest difference in this encounter, as he lost his serve only once (in the worst possible moment, but he corrected that). His return game worked very well too, taking almost 50% of the points on Bellucci's serve and breaking him 4 times from 10 opportunities.
This was their 5th meeting and the edge is clearly on Czech's side, he won all the matches with just one set lost, in the first meeting in 2010. Berdych gained the authority with a break at love in game 4, and he sealed the opener with another one in game 8, for a 6-2 score.
Bellucci struggled to keep the pace with his second serve, and he was also outplayed from the baseline, unable to battle for some more positive result. Tomas was even stronger in the second set and it looked that he will cross the finish line very soon after he broke his rival in game 4, jumping into a 3-1 lead.
Bellucci saved another 3 break points in game 6, and out of nowhere, he broke Tomas at love in game 9, when Czech served for the victory! Still, Berdych regrouped himself and closed the match with a break at love in game 12, avoiding the tie break and the potential 3rd set.
Semi-final results: Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) 6-2 7-5
Richard Gasquet (FRA) vs [PR]Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) 6-2 4-1 Ret. On the next page, Chengdu results.. ALSO READ: ATP SHENZHEN & CHENGDU: Berdych, Dimitrov and Gasquet all reach the last 4, Thiem stunned. First SF for Khachanov