Match Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open
[WC] Tomas Berdych -71- (CZE) def  Marco Cecchinato -20- (ITA)
Last season was a punishing slough for Tomas Berdych. Suffering from back pain, he simply couldn’t compete. After a Quarterfinal run at the Australian Open, the wheels came off. He played four events during the clay season, including Roland Garros – and didn’t win a single match.
It was excruciatingly obvious that his body needed significant rehab and recovery. “Pushing it” was counter-productive. So, Tomas withdrew from Wimbledon and called it a season.
Clearly, the rest and rehabilitation has been effective. In his first event back on Tour, tomorrow Tomas Berdych will compete in his 19th career Final, and first in nearly 2-years. Patience pays off.
Meanwhile, last year’s clay-season Clydesdale Marco Cecchinato continues to gallup. An ATP hard-court Semifinal-run to start the new season is light years from where Cecchinato was this time last year.
52-weeks-ago, Marco fell to Pierre-Hugues Herbert in Pune’s 1st-Round. He’d won only four career ATP-Tour level matches in his career. 4-months later, as a lucky loser in Budapest, he captured his first ATP Tour title. He upset David Goffin and Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros, then won his second title on clay in Umag. Marco went from World #109 at the start of the season to the top-20 by the Paris Masters. Poésie en mouvement. And the climb continues…
Tonight’s Semifinal was the first meeting between these two players.
Up next for Tomas Berdych:  Roberto Bautista Agut -24- (ESP)
Earlier tonight, RBA scored the biggest win of his career – upsetting World #1 Novak Djokovic for a second time. Tomas and Roberto have played six times since 2013. Berdych has won four of those matches, including their most recent in the Round of 16 at the 2016 Australian Open. Tomorrow’s championship is a huge opportunity for Berdych, who was a Finalist here in Doha once before. In 2016, he fell to Spaniard David Ferrer in the championship match.
Redemption is in sight.
[WC] Tomas Berdych -71- (CZE) | Semifinal Announcer Introduction
Back on tour for the first time in 6-months, he’s overcome Philipp Kohlschreiber, Fernando Verdasco and Pierre-Hugues Herbert to reach his 4th Doha Semifinal in 6-years. He’s a Wimbledon Finalist, a 2-time Davis Cup Champion, owns 13 ATP Singles titles, and has been ranked as high as World #4. One of only five active players who’ve reached the Semifinals of all four Majors, he’s also one of only 3 players who’ve earned Grand Slam victories over Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray. In pursuit of his 32nd career ATP Tour Final, from the Czech Republic – please welcome 2015 Doha Finalist and 2014 Doubles Champion, Tomas Berdych.
 Marco Cecchinato -20- (ITA) | Semifinal Announcer Introduction
This 26-year-old’s remarkable break-through season has extended into the New Year. Last year, he started 2018 ranked outside the top-100, with only 4 ATP Tour-level match victories to his name. By October – he cracked the top-20 and climbed to a career-high ranking of World #19. He began this sensational run by capturing his 5th ATP Challenger Tour Singles title in Santiago. Then – as a lucky loser in Budapest Qualifying – he captured his first ATP Tour-level title. At Roland Garros, he earned his first career top-10 victory – defeating World #9 David Goffin in the Round of 16 – then in the Quarters, stunned 2016 French Open Champion Novak Djokovic to become the first Italian Grand Slam Semifinalist in 40-years. He went-on win his second ATP Singles title in Umag, and ended the season as the World #20. Through to his first Doha Semifinal, from Italy – please welcome, Marco Cecchinato.
QF def Dusan Lajovic -48- (SRB) 76(2) 62
R2 def Guido Pella -58- (ARG) [walkover]
R1 def [Q] Sergiy Stakhovsky -135- (UKR) 64 62