|Dmitry Tursunov serves in the $100,000 Comerica Bank|
Challenger in Aptos, Calif., last July. Photo by Paul Bauman
The 30-year-old qualifier from Russia fell to top-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-1 in a 54-minute semifinal.
Berdych, the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up, won 25 of 27 first-serve points against Tursunov, who has residences in Moscow and the Sacramento area.
“I wanted to step on the court and be strong, because you never know what could happen with him,” Berdych told reporters. “I was focused from the very first point. … Finally, I'm able to play well here. I came here many times, but I didn't do well. I still have one more to go, so I want to finish in the best possible way.”
The sixth-ranked Berdych will face third-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in today's final. Tsonga cruised past fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-2.
Berdych improved to 6-1 against Tursunov, who knocked off ninth-ranked Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia in the second round. Berdych has won the last five matches in the series.
Tursunov played in his first semifinal on the ATP World Tour since he won the title at s'Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, in June 2011. Plagued by injuries, he has plunged to No. 119 after reaching a career-high No. 20 in 2006.
Tursunov helped Russia win the Davis Cup title that year. Berdych led his country to the crown last year.
Fresno State (3-7) def. Pacific 4-3 in Fresno.
Saint Mary's (4-4) def. UC Riverside (2-8) 6-1 in Los Angeles.
USF (5-2) def. Nevada (6-4) 6-1 in Reno.
No. 7 Cal (4-3) def. No. 6 USC (8-2) 5-2 in Berkeley.
No. 13 Stanford (4-1) def. No. 18 Clemson (3-4) in Gainesville, Fla.
No. 53 Fresno State (5-4) def. UC Davis (3-7) 5-2 in Fresno.
USF (5-2) def. Cal Poly (2-6) 6-1 in San Francisco.