On Thursday night, two of the world's finest players stepped onto court. In a 3rd round matchup at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, world number five Tomas Berdych went up against world number 14 Gilles Simon. Simon held the head-to-head advantage, leading 7-4. Their last meeting would be at this year's Wimbledon Championships, with Simon prevailing 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in the round of 16.
Both players would come in to the match on great form. Berdych received a bye in his 1st round but faced a stern 2nd round test as he battled off against American young gun Jack Sock for a 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4 victory. With the win, the Czech eclipsed 50 match wins on the season.
The Frenchmen would face two tough opponents in his opening rounds. In the 1st round, he would battle past qualifier Nikolas Basilashvili in a three set victory. In the 2nd round, the world number 14 would take out Leonardo Mayer in three sets. With a pair of hard fought victories, Simon would eclipse the 40 match wins on the season.
As the two 30-year-old veterans faced off, it would clearly be Berdych's day as he would play smooth and effortless tennis to win 6-3, 6-3. The match would take a total of 1 hour and 26 minutes.
Berdych Takes Opening Set
The fifth seed would get action started on serve with a hold at 30 for a 1-0 lead. The Frenchmen would then follow it up with a hold at 30 of his own. Berdych would face his first tests of the match, as the world number 14 would move him around and made the Czech uncomfortable. Berdych would not be stressed as he would then manage the hold. Finding his groove, the Czech would cruise to a break at love, playing perfect tennis to take a 3-1 lead.
Simon would fight right back as he would gain a 15-40 lead when returning. It would take him a second break point to break back at 30-40 for a 2-3 scoreline. The 10th seed battled out a service game to deuce and eventually held on the ensuing ad-in point for 3-3. The Czech would then be tested to deuce but win on ad-in for a 4-3 lead to remain on serve.
It would seem as Simon would be getting back to a good service rhythm as he took a 30-0 lead, but the Czech number one would power through for four straight points, playing an impressive point to break for the important 5-3 lead. He then would follow it up with a big hold of serve for a 6-3 1st set victory.
Berdych Powers Through To The Quarterfinals
The world number five would start the second set off right where he left off. With a 40-30 lead on return he would break for a 1-0 lead. The tall Czech would then display his serving prowess as he would hold dominantly at love for a 2-0 lead. The Frenchman would try to stay in it as he would hold at 15 for 1-2. Berdych and Simon both would trade off holds of serve for a 3-2 lead. The fifth seed would hit his first double fault but then followed it up with an ace to take a 4-2 lead.
Berdych would take his chances on return, having three break point opportunities but failing to convert as Simon would hold. The Czech would hit two aces in a row in the next game for a 5-3 lead. He wouldn't look back as he would get a break point and a first match point. It would only take that one opportunity as the experienced Berdych would win the set 6-3 for a straight sets victory over a worthy opponent.
With the victory, fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych goes on to face third-seeded Andy Murray in the quarterfinals.