Novak Djokovic eases past Tomas Berdych to secure semi-final place

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Novak Djokovic made light work of his heavy schedule to reach the semi-finals of the French Open for the sixth year in a row.

Not even Rafael Nadal had done that but, while the Spaniard's trophy collection includes nine from Roland Garros, Djokovic is still searching for his first.

To change that, he will have to play five times in six days after the rain on Monday and Tuesday badly affected the top half of both the women's and men's draws.

But Djokovic should have plenty of energy left after easing past seventh seed Tomas Berdych 6-3 7-5 6-3.

The biggest danger of elimination for the world number one was self inflicted.

After missing a break point early in the third set, Djokovic bounced his racket angrily on the ground and then looked round in horror as it flew towards the line judges. Fortunately for him, it landed harmlessly against the back fence.

Djokovic has not been at his best this tournament but from 3-3 in the first set against Berdych he found top gear.

The Czech, sporting adidas' zebra garb, might have found a pride of lions more forgiving than the world number one as he reeled off seven straight games.

Berdych had lost 23 of his previous 25 matches against Djokovic, winning just two sets in the last 10, so the omens were not good.

He fought back to level the second set at 4-4 only to play a poor game and hand it to his opponent, who certainly did not need that kind of help.

Berdych broke in the opening game of the third set but Djokovic shrugged off his brush with disqualification to hit straight back.

At 3-3, it was Berdych who was furious when Djokovic's protestations about the slipperiness of the court led to a brief rain delay.

"This is a circus, an absolute circus," Berdych protested to the tournament supervisor, with play on other courts continuing.

They were off for barely five minutes but Berdych failed to win a game on the resumption and Djokovic moved through to a 30th grand slam semi-final.

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Novak Djokovic
French Open

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