Czech 10th seed Tomas Berdych ended Frenchman’s Lucas Pouille’s unexpected love-affair with Wimbledon on Wednesday, grinding out a 7-6(4) 6-3 6-2 win to reach his sixth grand slam semi-final.
Carrying more court time than any other quarter-finalist, Berdych started slowly against the 22-year-old Pouille, the 32nd and lowest seed in the draw and a man who had never won a match on grass before this year’s eye-opening run at the All England Club.
Seeming out of sorts early on, the Czech broke serve in the third game when Pouille hit a forehand long, but handed the advantage back in the next with a double fault.
Berdych, whose slow start suggested he was feeling the effects of close to 11 and a half hours on court in his four previous matches, then threatened to fritter away a 5-1 lead in the tiebreak before a deep approach shot set him up for a clean forehand winner.
That was as good as it got for Pouille, who had lost in the first round in seven of his previous nine grand slam appearances, as Berdych cruised through the second and third sets for the loss of only five games.