Defending champ Berdych advances to semis

Defending champion Tomas Berdych advanced to the semifinals of the Stockholm Open after a straight-sets victory over Grigor Dimitrov on Friday.

The top-seeded Berdych beat Bulgaria’s Dimitrov 7-5, 6-4 in a repeat of last year’s final.

After edging the first set, Berdych broke for a 5-4 lead in the second. The Czech saved one break point while serving for the match, and moves one step closer to reclaiming his title.

”My serve was working well today and in the tough moments I was able to help myself a lot with the serve,” Berdych said after landing 86 percent of first serve points.

He next faces Marcos Baghdatis who needed three sets to overcome the eight-seeded Gilles Muller, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-3.

Second-seeded Richard Gasquet came from one set down to beat Jeremy Chardy 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4).

In an all-French quarterfinal, it was the sixth-seeded Chardy who edged ahead before Gasquet responded in the second. He twice broke Chardy to lead 5-1 in the second before getting across the line in a tight third.

Gasquet was leading 5-3 in the decider and serving for the match, when two double faults handed Chardy a lifeline. The 28-year-old Chardy capitalized and forced a tiebreak. A trademark single-handed winner eventually put Gasquet into the last four.

”It was a little difficult, but I tried to fight and played very good in the tie-break and didn’t make a mistake. It was a good match for me,” Gasquet said.

”Jeremy has a very good serve and very good forehand so I need to play my best tennis to win.”

Gasquet next faces American Jack Sock who beat Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-4.

That victory avenged his loss to Simon in Rome earlier in the year.

”I played more aggressive tennis in the middle of the second to get it back. With my style I try to come forward as much as I can and I was able to do that there at the end of the second,” Sock said.