Top seed Rafael Nadal and world No. 7 Tomas Berdych will clash in the semi-final of the Sony Open, in a contest that will mark their 21st professional encounter on the ATP tour. Nadal leads the head-to-head series 17-3, having won their last 16 consecutive matches. Check out the Nadal vs Berdych H2H matches.
Three-time Sony Open finalist Rafael Nadal faced a tough quarter-final match against Canadian No. 1 Milos Raonic, needing three sets to secure the win. The Spaniard hit 2 aces, won 75% of his first service points and hit 24 winners en route to a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 win in 2 hours and 35 minutes. It was not the smoothest of performances from Rafa though, as he also managed 2 double faults and hit 26 unforced errors.
Having finished runner-up in Miami in 2005, 08 and ’11, Nadal will be looking to turn his luck around this year, but will need to get past Czech No. 1 Tomas Berdych before he can reach the final.
“For me to be in semifinals after losing early in Indian Wells is very important for my confidence,” said Nadal. “The difference between quarter-finals and semi-finals is a lot, and tomorrow I have another day to try to keep playing better.”
Following his early exit at Indian Wells, world No. 7 Tomas Berdych rebounded by reaching the semi-final in Miami, following a 6-4, 7-6 victory over Alexandr Dolgopolov. After trading breaks to begin their match, the two competitors remained on serve through the next six games in the set, before a rain delay forced them off court for approximately 20 minutes. Once the match resumed, Berdych took advantage of a sluggish Dolgopolov to secure a break at 5-4 up and close out the set. At that point, they had both hit 7 winners, but Berdych had been more consistent with his 1st service points, which paid off in the end.
Berdych proceeded to increase the pressure on the Dolgopolov serve in the second frame, reaching two break point opportunities within the first four games of the second set, yet it will be the Ukrainian who will take the lead in the fifth game with one break and boost himself to a 4-2 lead in the set. That would soon evaporate, as the Czech No. 1 would break back and force a tiebreak, which he would win 7-2.
“It was a very tricky opponent,” said Berdych. “Even the conditions were not the perfect way that I really like. It was quite windy, so it was…a little bit more difficult. But I handled it quite well.”
The win marked Berdych’s fourth trip to the semi-finals so far this season, and boosts him back inside the Top 5.
While the two competitors have frequently met on the tour, including at a Wimbledon final, Nadal has thoroughly dominated the series, winning their last 16 matches on the professional circuit. Berdych has not won a match against the Spaniard since 2006, yet managed to take a set off him in their most recent encounter at the ATP World Tour finals. He will be looking for a similar performance to heighten his chances of reaching his second final of the season.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in Three Sets