Raonic books semi-final showdown with Del Potro
Indian Wells (United States) (AFP)
Milos Raonic, coming off an injury-riddled 2017, booked an Indian Wells semi-final with Juan Martin Del Potro on Friday with a 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 win over American Sam Querrey.
The 27-year-old Raonic picked up just his fourth match win of the season and is seeking to capture his ninth career ATP Tour title.
He'll be up against the eighth-ranked player in the world in Argentina's Del Potro, who beat German Philipp Kohlschreiber 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the day's other quarter-final.
"I am very happy I was able to put it together today," Raonic said. "I'm in the semis. I am happy with that. I know I can play better."
Raonic lost in the final of this event in 2016 and has now made it to the semi-finals in his last three appearances.
Raonic didn't play in Indian Wells last year because of a string of injuries and surgeries that decimated his season.
"It's been a catastrophe," he said of the time off due to injuries.
The list of things that have put him in the infirmary in the past year is lengthy and might have sent a lesser determined person into permanent retirement.
"Let's go down the list. Right adductor, left glut at the beginning of the year. Then I tore my hamstring at the beginning of February.
"After Wimbledon I had to have wrist surgery. Through the summer I tried to play a few events, tried to treat the issue. That wasn't possible.
"I had surgery just before the US Open. Was hoping to start my offseason in the early weeks of November.
"And then in November I hurt my knee. I hurt my meniscus, so I couldn't play for six weeks. Started training just before the Australian Open, and I'm here today."
Raonic blasted 17 aces and broke the 18th seeded Querrey's serve three times in the one hour, 51 minute match on the main stadium court.
Raonic clinched the match on his second match point when Querrey hit a forehand wide.
Serving in the final game, Raonic benefitted from a challenge call that resulted in his final ace.
The serve was originally ruled out but Raonic asked for a review which showed the ball clipped the centre line. That got the score to 40-40 and he took the next two points for the match.
Raonic is now 3-2 lifetime over Querrey, having won the last three straight.
Raonic lost his composure a few times in the second set but regrouped in the third.
- 'Little grumpy' -
"Sometimes my emotions take me for a ride," he said. "I was a little grumpy there. But it was good, because most of that first set and that second set I was missing some energy, so it was good to sort of get it out in whichever way. I used it as a positive."
In the first set Querrey wasted no time breaking Raonic's serve in the opening game. They stayed on serve until Raonic broke back in the tenth game. Raonic held serve and then broke Querrey in 12th game to take the set.
Querrey got the only two breaks in the second set as Raonic struggled with his serve, double faulting four times.
They traded aces back and forth to hold serve through the first seven games of the final set. In the eighth game Raonic finally got the break he needed by hitting a forehand winner to go up 5-3.
Raonic served two aces in the final game and hammered another 143mph serve that Querrey got a piece of.
© 2018 AFP