Berdych blasts Gulbis to reach Rotterdam semis

AFP| Updated: Feb 15, 2014, 22:26 PM IST

Rotterdam: 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.