Giant-killer Niculescu battles into the semis at Beijing

Updated: 07 October 2011 14:36 IST

Romanian qualifier Monica Niculescu fought back from a set down against former champion Maria Kirilenko to reach the semi-finals of the China Open on Friday and keep her dream run alive.

Beijing:

Romanian qualifier Monica Niculescu fought back from a set down against former champion Maria Kirilenko to reach the semi-finals of the China Open on Friday and keep her dream run alive.

World number 57 Niculescu, who knocked out French Open champion Li Na in the first round, recovered from a slow start in only her sixth career quarter-final, breaking the Russian Kirilenko's serve six times to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Niculescu will play the winner of the match between German ninth seed Andrea Petkovic and Russian 13th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

In the men's draw, Czech third seed Tomas Berdych crushed Fernando Verdasco 6-1, 6-0 in 65 minutes, one of the heaviest defeats of the Spaniard's career.

Berdych won his eighth match from a dozen meetings with his longtime rival and has now claimed their last six hardcourt matches. Verdasco committed five double-faults and lost serve six times while Berdych was only broken once.

The Czech has yet to win a title in 2011. Only he and Frenchman Gael Monfils from the top 10 are without a trophy this year. Berdych has lost just 13 games in three wins so far this week.

He will play his seventh semi-final of the year against either French top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero.

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Topics mentioned in this article Tennis Monica Niculescu Maria Kirilenko
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