Berdych into Paris quarters; Nishikori withdraws
PARIS (AP) -- Fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych recovered from a poor first set to beat Kevin Anderson of South Africa 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 Thursday and reach the Paris Masters quarterfinals.
The Czech was overpowered by Anderson's serve and strong defense in the first set, where Anderson hit six aces and broke Berdych twice, while saving all three break points he faced.
"The way that Kevin started was incredible. I had no chance, everything went on his side," Berdych said. "There were not many chances for me but I still had the hope and belief I could make it."
Berdych recovered and broke Anderson in the eighth game of the second set, and again in the seventh game of the decider before clinching the match with a backhand volley at the net.
He next plays Gilles Simon of France, who advanced without hitting a ball after 15th-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan pulled out because of a recurrence of his right ankle injury.
With Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic out of the way - Federer and Nadal pulled out of the tournament, while Djokovic lost in the second round Wednesday - Berdych is in a strong position to add to his 2005 title at the Bercy arena.
"It's a really new role to be (a favorite) in the tournament, but there are still guys like Andy (Murray), David (Ferrer)," Berdych said. "I can't forget my next opponent, playing the French at home is always tough."
Berdych had a heated argument with the chair umpire in the eighth game of the second set, when he thought he had broken Anderson, only for the point to be replayed. Berdych shouted "What kind of call was that?" and threw his towel in the air as he walked off, prompting jeers from the crowd. After securing the break, however, he leveled the match with an ace on set point and yelled "Yes" as he clenched his fist.
Later Thursday, the third-seeded Murray was playing qualifier Jerzy Janowicz of Poland and No. 4 seed Ferrer was playing No. 16 Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland. Also, sixth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France was up against No. 11 Nicolas Almagro of Spain.