Jo-Wilfried Tsonga takes on former champion Tomas Berdych in the first semi-final of the ongoing Rotterdam Open in the Netherlands on Saturday.
Sixth-seeded Tsonga stunned top seed Marin Cilic 7-6(10), 7-6(5) on Friday in the quarter-final match, that extended to nearly two hours. Notably, it was also the Frenchman's first win over the higher-ranked Croatian player since his 2011 win at Cincinnati Masters.
Tsonga has now successfully overcame the quarter-final hurdle, which he has failed to cross in the last two tournaments of the ongoing season. Notably, the world number 13 was ousted in Doha by Berdych and by Stanislas Wawrinka in Australian Open, on both occasions in the last-eight rounds.
The Frenchman believes that he has been playing his best tennis in the recent past and conceded that he will be in for a tough test against Berdych, who according to him is a very consistent player.
On the other hand, Berdych decimated defending champion Martin Klizan in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 in his quarter-final clash. The 2014 winner did not break a sweat as he broke his opponent twice as early as in the first set.
After facing defeats to top-ranked Andy Murray and Roger Federer in the last two tournaments of the season, Berdych now knows he has a relatively easier passage to the title match in Rotterdam. Despite having a 9-3 head-to-head advantage over his semi-final opponent, The world number 13 wants to remain focussed and bring out his best to take another step towards his second title here.
"The best strategy is to play well! My own game will be extremely important tomorrow [Friday], as I will try to dictate from the very beginning. I need to be focused from the first point," Berdych said, as quoted by ATP's official website.
Malaysia: Astro Supersport 4
Singapore: Hub Sports 1
India: Ten 1
UK: Sky Sports