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Berdych eyes first title of 2013 in Bangkok

(Reuters) - Tomas Berdych closed in on his first title of the year when he rallied from a set down to beat Gilles Simon in their Thailand Open semi-final on Saturday.

Berdych, the only member of the world's top 10 without a title this year, lost an opening-set tiebreak against the Frenchman but recovered to win 6-7(5) 6-2 7-5 in Bangkok.

The Czech served 20 aces in the near three-hour contest and will need to serve well again on Sunday against Canadian powerhouse Milos Raonic who beat defending champion Richard Gasquet 3-6 7-5 6-4.

Having worked his way to the brink of victory against Simon, who had won their last three encounters, Berdych stumbled when serving for the match, going 0-40 down.

He got the benefit of a tight line call at 30-40 and went on to complete victory in a touch under three hours.

Raonic is bidding for his second title this year and a strong end to the season could put him in the frame for a place in the ATP World Tour finals.

World number six Berdych is already well-placed to qualify.

(Writing by Martyn Herman in London; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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