Tomas Berdych outmuscled Novak Djokovic for a stunning 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 decisio.
Rome, Italy (Sports Network) -
Czech slugger Tomas Berdych came from way behind to upset two-time champion Novak Djokovic, while six-time winner Rafael Nadal and reigning Wimbledon champion Roger Federer each pulled out quarterfinal victories Friday at the $3.475 million Italian Masters tennis event.
The sixth-seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Berdych eventually outmuscled the world No. 1 Djokovic for a stunning 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 decision in 2 hours, 22 minutes on the red clay at Foro Italico. Berdych overcame a 2-6, 2-5 deficit to advance and beat Djokovic for the first time in three years, snapping an 11-match losing streak against the formidable Serb.
The fifth-seeded former No. 1 Nadal, meanwhile, needed all three sets to sneak past fourth-seeded fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 on Day 6. Ferrer had match points against Nadal last week in Madrid, but lost that quarterfinal match as Nadal went on to title on home soil.
One to watch: Benoit Paire
By Scott Riley, Tennis Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
French tennis has certainly picked up the pace in recent years -- well, on the men's side anyway -- and the latest of its quality ball-strikers is Benoit Paire.
With a win Friday in Rome, Paire surged into his first-ever ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semifinal. He has been a steady climber over the last two seasons.
The 6-foot-5 Avignon native, who turned 24 on May 8, was ranked 95th in the world at the end of 2011, finished 2012 at No. 47 after being one of the most-improved players for the year and currently rests at No. 36 as his stock continues to rise. He's climbed in the rankings in each of his seven professional seasons.
Is he as good as some of his fellow countrymen, like Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon?