Monte Carlo: Tomas Berdych staged a fightback to deny Andy Murray a third semifinal in four years at the Monte Carlo Masters, with the Czech squeezing out a tight 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 6-3 win on Friday to reach the final four. (Agencies)
Berdych, seeded sixth, will face the winner from top seed Novak Djokovic, playing on despite learning on Friday of the death in Serbia of his grandfather, and Dutch surprise Robin Haase.
Murray could only be frustrated with himself after a performance in which Berdych managed 16 break point chances and converted on five. Murray had one opportunity on the Czech's serve but was unable to take advantage.
Berdych girded for a battle on the clay under sunny skies after losing the 74-minute opening set in a tiebreaker. The former Wimbledon finalist took his chances and profited from a Murray miscue in a struggle lasting for just over two and three-quarter hours.
"I had to stay in the fight after the first set," said the winner. "I had some bad luck in the tie-breaker, but my game started getting stronger.
"I hope to keep playing my best tennis on clay," said the Monte Carlo semi-finalist from 2007 who now leads Murray 4-2 in their career series.
The big Czech stands 2-0 over the Scot on clay after a 2010 fourth-round win at Roland Garros.
Murray looked like fighting through after the marathon opening set, where he saved a total of seven break points - four of which were set points. But after salting away the opener, he let his game drop.
Berdych turned the tide ending with 50 winners and 40 unforced errors from his go-for-broke style.
The final set began with three consecutive breaks of serve before Berdych steadied to earn the win on his first match point, a forehand winner to the corner.
The Berdych win was his 22nd of the season against just five losses.
Monte Carlo: Tomas Berdych staged a fightback to deny Andy Murray a third semifinal in four years at the Monte Carlo Masters, with the Czech squeezing out a tight 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 6-3 win on Friday to reach the final four.