* Berdych registers 450th career match win
* Reaches semis without having dropped a set (Adds quotes, byline)
By Steve Keating
MIAMI, March 27 (Reuters) - Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych eased into the semi-finals of the Sony Open for the third time on Thursday, taming Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4 7-6 (7-3).
Berdych quietly worked his way into the last four without dropping a set in Miami, where he awaits the winner Thursday’s later match between world number one Rafa Nadal and big-hitting Canadian Milos Raonic.
”Very different player, in sense of really hard to find the rhythm,“ said Berdych, summing up Dolgopolov. ”If you are not really in good shape, he can destroy your game.
“He will force you to play the style what he wants and so he’s a very tricky player.”
The match was briefly halted by rain with the score tied 4-4 in the opening set, but when the players returned to an overcast centre court Berdych took control, holding serve and breaking the 22nd seed to grab the 1-0 lead.
Dolgopolov hit back with an early break in the second on way to a 5-3 lead but Berdych broke the Ukrainian at 5-5 to help force a tiebreak which he easily won to register his 450th career match win.
“I was a break down since the beginning of the first set. Then break down in the second set, so it didn’t look that well,” said Berdych. “But I managed, especially end of the second set, I hold pretty well and that’s what I‘m very pleased with.” (Editing by Frank Pingue)