A surprise semi-final that no one expected is scheduled to take place on Saturday afternoon in Monte Carlo, as Tomas Berdych will meet Gael Monfils to determine one of the finalist at the first clay court Masters 1000 event of the season. Berdych has encountered Monfils on six previous occasions on the ATP World Tour, and holds a 5-1 lead in the head-to-head series.
For the third time in his career, Tomas Berdych is through to the semi-final stage of the Mote Carlo Masters event, following a retirement win against Milos Raonic. He Canadian was forced to retire during the match at 5-2 down with a foot injury.
“So far everything is going well,” said Berdych. “My preparation is really good. I’ve done as much as I could, playing on the clay right after the Miami, which is a good sign for me. I’m able to execute it in the matches.”
Berdych’s upcoming opponent, Gael Monfils, actually had to play the entirety of his match to reach the semi-final, but it was anything but difficult. The Frenchman thrashed Grigor Dimitrov 6-1, 6-3 to secure his spot in the tournament. The first set lasted 22 minutes and the entire match lasted 58 minutes.
“Today, I wanted to make him run a lot, left [to] right, left [to] right [on] a lot of points,” said Monfils. “I tried to dictate with my forehand, move him around the court, short [and] back. I was like trying to play very deep and very high and heavy to tell him: ‘Grigor, you need to stay back.'”
This marks the sixth time that Berdych and Monfils will cross paths on the ATP World Tour, with Berdych leading the series 4-1. Berdych won their most recent encounter just a few weeks ago at the Miami Masters event. The Frenchman’s sole win against Berdych came in the 2013 French Open, where he defeated the Czech native 7-6 6-4 6-7 6-7 7-5. Given that his only win against Berdych was on clay, it will be interesting to see if that plays a factor in their upcoming encounter.
Prediction: Tomas Berdych in Three Sets
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