There is more going on this week than just GOAT debates. There’s actual tennis being played and it involves some top players and some guys chasing London spots.
In Bangkok last night, err this morning, top seed Tomas Berdych reached the semifinals where he’ll be joined by his other Top 4 seeds: his next opponent Gilles Simon, Milos Raonic and Richard Gasquet.
Somewhat surprisingly Simon leads Berdych 5-2 in this series.
“I don’t have a positive record against [Simon]. All of the matches were quite close,” Berdych said after beating Lu. “I’ll try to serve well. My serve is so far helping me a lot. My game is based on serve. It’s what I will try to focus on tomorrow.”
While Berdych isn’t playing for much this fall (he appears to be locked into that 5-6 ranking spot), Simon, seated No. 17 in the Race, sure could use the points if he hopes to make London, and he very well could with his indoor prowess and the Paris event looming. As could both players in the other semi, Raonic and Gasquet.
Richard beat Milos at the US Open saving a matchpoint in a five set win. Indoors should favor the Canadian in this one and I think he’ll come out with the win.
Over in KL, Stan Wawrinka is hot on the heels of his compatriot Roger Federer. By reaching the semifinals there, Stan stands just one win from passing Federer in the 2013 race points. To do it he’ll have to beat Julien Benneteau who I believe is still seeking a first career ATP title!
In the other semi the man who was crushed by Novak Djokovic at the US Open, Joao Sousa, upset David Ferrer to put him into the last four where he’ll meet Jurgen Melzer.
Ferrer’s been fading a little of late. I know he reached the US Open quarters but he really hasn’t impressed much since Wimbledon and losing to Sousa won’t help matters as we wind down the season. Maybe age is catching up to him.
“Of course to lose a match is disappointing, but now I’ll focus on the next tournament,” said Ferrer. “Joao played a great match and that’s it. I’ll stay positive.”
And on the women’s tour, the big news was Venus Williams losing last night to Petra Kvitova in a third set tiebreak in Tokyo. Despite the loss, it has to be an encouraging week for Williams who collected some excellent wins over Victoria Azarenka, Simona Halep and Genie Bouchard.
“Coming into tournaments you never know how it’s going to turn out, but I played a lot of great matches here,” the 33-year-old Venus said. “Today didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, but she played very well today, and a lot of it came down to match play too – she was hitting a lot of unreturnable shots in the tie-break.
“As I get into these positions more I’ll start to convert – just a few painful misses today.”
Kvitova now plays Angelique Kerber in the Saturday final.
BANGKOK SATURDAY SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT start 1:00 pm
 T Berdych (CZE) vs  G Simon (FRA)
Not Before 3:00 PM
 M Raonic (CAN) vs  R Gasquet (FRA)
C Kas (GER) / O Marach (AUT) vs  T Bednarek (POL) / J Brunstrom (SWE)
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