Shanghai: France's Gilles Simon overwhelmed Tomas Berdych in a scintillating final set Friday as he marched into the Shanghai Masters semi-finals with his second top-10 scalp in three days.
The world number 29 won 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 6-0 to enter his second successive semi-final, after also making the last four in Tokyo last week where he lost to Milos Raonic.
Simon, 29, is yet to win a Masters title but he is in a rich vein of form and overpowered Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka on Wednesday in Shanghai.
Berdych, meanwhile, reached last week's China Open final and he arrived at the Shanghai quarter-finals without even facing a break point.
But the tournament's sixth seed, ranked seventh in the world, was given a rude awakening when Simon broke his serve in the first game.
The Czech, however, appeared well in control of his serving game thereafter, firing 12 aces throughout the set.
Berdych broke back in the third game to draw level and an increasingly frustrated Simon shouted at himself after misfiring in a tense game which brought the scores to 6-6.
But his bout of self-criticism appeared to work, as the former world number six raced to a 5-2 lead in the tie-break and sealed the set with a powerful cross-court groundstroke.
The pair were evenly matched in the second set but with the scores at 4-4, Berdych got his chance chance to break as he tussled with Simon on deuce.
Berdych drew boos when he appeared to berate a ball-girl for being slow to bring his towel. But he then seized the break and closed the following game, and the set, with an ace.
However, he went missing in the decider as Simon took it effortlessly 6-0, helped by Berdych's uncharacteristic double fault to hand over the second break, which prompted gasps from the crowd.
"I had a good week already, I was confident last week," Simon said after his victory. "I am playing good, I am feeling good, I just hope I can make it to the final."
The 29-year-old will fancy his chances against either Mikhail Youzhny of Russia or Feliciano Lopez of Spain in the semi-finals.
A host of big names are already out, including Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.