By Jacopo Lomonaco
ROME (Reuters) - Roger Federer, who had not originally planned to play in the Italian Open, crushed Thomas Berdych 6-3 6-3 on Friday to reach the semi-finals.
An early loss to Nick Kyrgios in Madrid last week convinced the Swiss maestro that he needed more matches on clay before the French Open and he is taking full advantage of the opportunity.
The second seed will play the winner of this evening's match between Rafa Nadal and Stan Wawrinka in the last four.
"I'll watch a little tonight," Federer told Sky Sports Italia. "It'll be a tough semi-final for me as I lost to both of them the last time we played on clay."
Berdych, who has won the most matches this year with Novak Djokovic (32), took an early lead in the opening set only to double fault the break away in the sixth game.
A hard-fought win over Fabio Fognini seemed to take its toll on Berdych who grew more and more frustrated as the match progressed. Federer handled the windy conditions better and was almost untouchable on first serve, winning 86 percent of points.
"Thomas (Berdych) can play much better than this," Federer added. "He struggled with the wind even though it picked up in the second set."
The Italian Open is one of two Masters 1000 tournaments Federer has never won.
Earlier, David Ferrer outlasted David Goffin, the only unseeded player to reach the last eight, 6-2 4-6 6-3.
Ferrer, the seventh seed, was able to impose his furious rhythm at the start of the match, quickly jumping to a 3-0 lead before breaking the Belgian a second time to close out the set.
Goffin decided to try to take the ball earlier and this tactic paid off in the following set, only for Ferrer to regroup and dominate the end of the match.
Ferrer reached his fourth semi-final in Rome and awaits the winner of the Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori match.
In the women's event, Simona Halep crushed Romanian compatriot Alexandra Dulgheru 6-1 6-0 in 56 minutes to reach the Italian Open semis for the second time.
The number two seed has been unstoppable in Rome, losing only seven games in three matches, and she next meets Petra Kvitova or Carla Suarez Navarro.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)