(2)Roger Federer d. Benoit Paire 7-6(5), 6-4 [1:27 h]
Paire played a solid match, especially given the circumstances – completely new territory for him; first time on Centre Court, first time in such an advanced phase of a big tournament, against one of the best players of all time. In the 1st set he was more aggressive, more creative, tennis-wise more interesting for spectators, breaking first (7th game, immediate ribreak), he also led in the tie-break a couple of times, including 5:4 on serve when made two casual errors. The 2nd set was decided in the 3rd game when Paire led 40/15 and lost four straight points – two consecutive double faults in the end. The unorthodox Frenchman had a double break point to level the score in the 6th game, but Federer once again was able to win four points in succession. The Swiss stated: “I’m very happy with how things went for me. It could have gone either way again like yesterday against Janowicz, so to come through in straight sets shows that I’m comfortable. When it’s close, I am not doubting myself a whole lot, which is always a good thing heading into a final.” The hermetic hierarchy in men’s tennis has been finally questioned lately: in each of the last three Masters 1000 events on clay, an unheralded player, for whom the quarterfinal had already been a great result, advanced to the semifinals (Fabio Fognini in Monte Carlo, Pablo Andujar in Madrid & Paire in Rome).
(5)Rafael Nadal d. (6)Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-4 [1:17 h]
Djokovic and Nadal are the two toughest opponents for Berdych. The Czech managed somehow to beat one of them, so it was pretty obvious that eliminating two in back-to-back would be too tough for him. Nadal was flawless in the 1st set, he delivered his A-game with enormous top-spin forehands. His level dropped a bit in the 2nd set and Berdych held four service games, he led 4:3* (30-all) when sent a backhand long, Nadal shouted “Vamos!” and the semifinal was actually finished in that moment – the Spaniard won 10 out of last 12 points. The 26-year-old Nadal is through to his eighth final in as many tournaments this year! “He started really well and of course it’s Rafa and we know how he plays on clay,” said Berdych. “I had a chance that I didn’t take and yesterday I had one chance that I did take and I won.”