Tennis: Berdych fights off Ferrer to reach first Aussie semi

Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych fought off tenacious world number three David Ferrer in four sets to reach his first Australian Open semi-final on Tuesday.

Berdych outlasted the Spaniard 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in just over three hours and will play either defending champion Novak Djokovic or Stanislas Wawrinka for a place in the final.

The victory, Berdych's first at Rod Laver Arena, the tournament's centre court, means he has now completed a set of semi-final appearances at all four Grand Slams.

"It feels great. It's really a great feeling," Berdych said.

"There were some special moments which went well together in this match: making it for the first time here in the Aussie Open to the semis, winning my first match on Rod Laver after all those years. I'm extremely happy to go through.

"I'm feeling really good. It's going really well these last 10 days. If it's enough for Novak or Stan, let's see."

Berdych began confidently by winning the first two sets but in the process he had his powerful serve broken for the first time after 60 consecutive holds in the tournament.

The Spanish baseline slugger, bidding for his third Australian Open semi-final, hit back by winning the third set and looked to be getting on top of the tiring Czech as the match entered a fourth set.

But Berdych broke Ferrer's serve in the fifth game and served out for the match.

"That was the only set I have dropped so far in the tournament. It was not my optimal game," Berdych said. "David is a big fighter. He will take every single small chance that he's going to get."

It was Berdych's first win at Rod Laver Arena in his 11th Australian Open campaign.

"I've had a couple of close ones, a couple not so (close) on that court. So really I didn't get any kind of an easy one to make that first match win. So today I needed to fight really hard for that. I made it," he said.

The Czech had his serve broken three times in the match but broke Ferrer five times and won 78 percent of his first-serve points along with 10 aces.

Berdych managed to win despite making 62 unforced errors to his 43 winners, while Ferrer made 23 errors on his strong forehand.

It was the seventh seed's fifth victory in 12 encounters with Ferrer in what was their first meeting at a Grand Slam.

In getting the win, Berdych became the first Czech to reach the last four in Melbourne since Jiri Novak in 2002.

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