Paris: Tomas Berdych is just one win away from securing his spot for the ATP World Tour Finals after beating Fernando Verdasco of Spain 6-3, 7-5 in the second round of the Paris Masters on Tuesday.
The 2005 Paris champion won five straight games in the first set to rally from a 3-1 deficit, hitting 12 winners to only three for Verdasco.
Berdych then broke the Spaniard twice for a 5-2 lead in the second set but wasted several match points to let Verdasco level at 5-5.
But the fifth-seeded Czech broke Verdasco again with a forehand pass before clinching victory with a crosscourt backhand winner.
Meanwhile, Feliciano Lopez of Spain, Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine won their first-round matches.
Lopez beat Michael Llodra of France 7-6 (7), 6-3, Dodig rallied past Fabio Fognini of Italy 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, and Stakhovsky defeated Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-4, 6-3.
Dodig will next take on top-seeded Novak Djokovic.
Lopez saved four set points in the tiebreaker before jumping to a 4-0 lead in the second set and firing an ace to clinch victory.
The Spanish lefty will next play eighth-seeded Gael Monfils of France.
Nishikori got a cold dose of reality after stunning Djokovic last weekend to reach the final of the Swiss Indoors in Basel. He could only convert two of 14 break chances against Stakhovsky, who won to set up a clash with Viktor Troicki of Serbia.