Berdych Breezes Past Monfils Into Final

Tomas Berdych extended his fine start to the 2015 ATP World Tour season on Saturday by reaching the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final for the first time.

Sixth seed Berdych booked a spot in his fourth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title match by ending the run of No. 14 seed Gael Monfils, a wild card entry, 6-1, 6-4 in the semi-finals.

The right-hander will appear in his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final since May 2012 in Madrid (l. to Federer). Berdych will challenge top seed Novak Djokovic, the 2013 titlist, on Sunday and will look to overturn a 2-18 record over the World No. 1. Berdych’s last victory over Djokovic came two years ago on clay in the Rome quarter-finals.

Berdych improved to a 6-1 record over Monfils. The Czech proved to be more consistent early on when he broke to 30 for a 3-1 lead. His run of seven straight points, which included a second break, ended in the seventh game. He capitalised on 13 unforced errors from Monfils to wrap up the first set in 26 minutes. Although Berdych dropped his serve in the second game of the second set, his dominance over Monfils continued and he sealed victory in 68 minutes.

“I came better prepared today,” said Berdych. “I was playing a good tennis when I was in the tough situations, I was able to handle it. When I got some chances, I just take my chances. It was a great game for me today.

“I think that the first set is just maybe not showing the real way what was happening today on the court. I think the second set he was much better. It was also part of my strategy, to have a good and strong start. It all worked out. So I think it was just a good day in the office for me.”

Berdych improved to a 27-6 match record on the season, which includes two runner-up finishes in Doha (l. to Ferrer) and Rotterdam (l. to Wawrinka) and a semi-final showing at the Australian Open (l. to Murray).

“This year is going pretty well,” said Berdych. “It’s going almost the way we set it up. We’re missing a trophy yet as a team, and me personally, but it’s another chance tomorrow. I think I’m going to try to put myself in the best possible position to be ready for it, be prepared. So far having a great week, so it’s all good and positive signs to me.”

Monfils had been aiming to become the first Frenchman to reach the Monte-Carlo final since Cedric Pioline emerged victorious 15 years ago. The World No. 18 was also hoping to advance to his third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final and his first since the 2010 BNP Paribas Masters in Paris (l. to Soderling).

The Frenchman had reached the semi-finals after recording his biggest win of the season in the third round over Roger Federer. He backed it up with victory over Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals on Friday.

“Tomas is one of the players who gives me the most trouble,” said Monfils. “I can’t find, never mind a solution, buteven a way of playing that gives him trouble and that I can feel comfortable with. My game doesn’t give him trouble at all. I am not even frustrated because I knew it would happen beforehand. I hope I will find a solution someday.”

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