Berdych faces Raonic test
Tomas Berdych must beat rising star Milos Raonic to grab his first title of the year after outlasting Gilles Simon in the Thailand Open semis.
The Czech found reserve stores of energy towards the end of a three-hour match in Bangkok and fired 20 aces past his fourth-seeded French opponent - last year's runner-up - in a 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 7-5 victory.
The win saw Berdych end a three-match losing streak against Simon and book his third ATP Tour final appearance of the season. The 28-year-old remains, however, the only member of the world's top 10 without a title in 2013.
"I was a bit unlucky in the first set," Berdych told Sky Sports. "I stuck to my tactics, which had been successful. I just tried to keep going in the same way, used the same strategy - it was a good option in the end.
"With Gilles you always expect a long match, that is his game. He likes long rallies. In the end it was very close but finally my serve helped me out and I was able to finish the win.
"This is my third final of the season, so fingers crossed. I need to do what is best for my body now and try to recover. I want to be strong and ready for the final."
Canada's third-seeded Raonic was also given a stern examination as he recovered from an early wobble to oust reigning champion Richard Gasquet.
The Frenchman's bid for back-to-back titles in Thailand looked to be progressing well when he took the opener 6-3 but the second seed was subjected to a fierce fightback from Raonic, who hit six aces to tee up a deciding set.
He then hit 11 more - landing 23 in total - to clinch the semi-final in just under two hours, triumphing 3-6 7-5 6-4.
The world number 11, who could take his second title of the year having tasted glory in San Jose in February, is playing a full autumn schedule with a view to booking his place at the eight-man ATP World Tour finals in London.