Tennis: Djokovic, Berdych reach Masters semifinals

AP, Friday 20 Apr 2012

Novak Djokovic dropped serve four times before beating Robin Haase 6-4, 6-2 to reach the Monte Carlo Masters semifinal on Friday; the Serb admitted afterward that his thoughts were still with his grandfather

Novak Djokovic
Djokovic returns the ball to Haase during the quarter-final of the Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco (Photo: REUTERS)

Playing the day after his grandfather's death, the top-ranked Djokovic looked distracted at times against Haase, missing a first chance to serve out for the match at 5-1 before breaking the unseeded Dutchman for the seventh time to seal victory.

''It's been a tough week, but this is life,'' Djokovic said. ''His spirit will always be with me.''

Djokovic lost a total of 16 points on his usually rock-solid first serve, and his play was sometimes erratic.

''It's tough to be able to play tennis after the way I felt and the way I still feel,'' Djokovic said. ''I remember him as a great man, and I know he's been supporting me and still from the heavens now.''

Djokovic next plays sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych, who took advantage of a wayward performance from Andy Murray to win 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-3.

The third-seeded Murray was struggling for most of the match, saving seven break points - including four set points - to win a tight first set that Berdych let slip.

Murray varied his game to try to stem the Czech's momentum but overly used the drop shot, and Berdych came back strongly to break Murray's serve twice in the second set and another three times in the third.

Berdych clinched victory on his first match point with another forehand pass that had Murray rooted to the spot.

''He played very, very well today,'' Murray said. ''Every time I lose a match, I get asked, 'What did you do wrong?' Sometimes the guy plays well. He played extremely well today. He dictated a lot of the points, he went for his shots, he served very well.''

Later Friday, seven-time defending champion Rafael Nadal was scheduled to play Stanislas Wawrinka and fourth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was to face Gilles Simon in an all-French match.

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