Novak Djokovic survived an up-and-down contest against Tomas Berdych to get a step closer to his fourth Rogers Cup title. The top seed moved past Berdych 7-6(6), 6-4 in front of a packed Friday night crowd on Centre Court at the Aviva Centre in Toronto.
“He’s playing great tennis at the moment. He won Washington. He’s been playing more or less every day for the last couple of weeks,” Djokovic said. “He’s feeling confident on the court.”
Djokovic advanced to his fifth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final of the season despite not having his most polished game on the hard courts. The World No. 1 struggled to land his first serve, hitting only half of them for the match. He also more than doubled his winner tally – 14 – with unforced errors – 33.
But Djokovic still led 5-2 in the first set before Berdych climbed back into the match. The Czech even had three set points at 6/3 in the first-set tie-break, including two on his racquet. But Berdych double faulted and lost the next point on his serve, and Djokovic escaped with the opening set.
It marked the 13th consecutive set Djokovic had won against Berdych. The Czech last claimed a set against Djokovic in the 2015 Monte-Carlo final.
At 1-all in the second set, Berdych was serving up 40/15 before he donated another double fault – he finished with four – and appeared rattled. Three unforced errors later, the top seed had the only break of the set he would need.
“I was very fortunate to get away with the first set,” Djokovic said. “The second set was slightly better… but I’m moving on and hopefully it’s going to get better.”
Djokovic now leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 25-2. He has advanced to the final in 13 of his past 14 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments.