A pair of blockbuster matchups are on tap for Saturday in Bangkok, as all four top seeds have reached the semifinals. Tomas Berdych is battling Gilles Simon and Richard Gasquet is going up against Milos Raonic.
(1) Tomas Berdych vs. (4) Gilles Simon
Berdych and Simon will be facing each other for the eighth time in their careers when they collide in the semifinals of the Thailand Open on Saturday afternoon. Simon leads the head-to-head series 5-2, including 4-2 on either hard courts or carpet. Their only meeting since 2009 came last fall on the indoor hard courts of Paris, where Simon cruised 6-4, 6-4. They have squared off three times indoors, with the Frenchman having won two of those encounters.
Simon missed much of the American summer swing due to a knee injury, but he is back in form following a Cincinnati first-round retirement. The 14th-ranked Frenchman captured the Metz title last week and so far in Bangkok he has dismissed Bernard Tomic and Igor Sijsling. Berdych booked his place in the last four with straight-set scalps of Roberto Bautista Agut and Yen-Hsun Lu. The sixth-ranked Czech is 46-17 for the year, which includes quarterfinals at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Their past history notwithstanding, a fast surface should favor Berdych and Simon has played a ton of tennis over the past 10 days.
Pick: Berdych in 3
(3) Milos Raonic vs. (2) Richard Gasquet
Raonic and Gasquet will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers and for the second time in less than a month. They just clashed in the fourth round of the U.S. Open, where Gasquet won a 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 2-6, 7-6(9), 7-5 thriller on his way to the semifinals. They also met at the 2012 Cincinnati Masters, with Raonic prevailing 7-6(4), 6-3.
Making his first appearance since New York, Gasquet has remained in fine form. The ninth-ranked Frenchman earned his spot in the Bangkok semis with defeats of Lukas Lacko and Mikhail Youzhny. He is now 41-15 for the season. Raonic split a pair of Davis Cup singles rubbers against Serbia before scoring wins this week over Marinko Matosevic and Feliciano Lopez. The 11th-ranked Canadian, who owns a 35-17 record his 2013 campaign, served at 86 percent against Lopez while firing 19 aces without double-faulting. With that kind of form, Raonic could be too much for Gasquet on an indoor hard court.
Pick: Raonic in 3