Raonic smashes his way to semifinals in Cincinnati
Milos Raonic serves against Fabio Fognini, from Italy, during a match at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament, Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, in Mason, Ohio. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, August 15, 2014 4:27PM EDT
CINCINNATI, Ohio -- After crushing Italian Fabio Fognini 6-1, 6-0 to move into the semifinals of the Western and Southern Open, Milos Ranoic headed straight to the practice court to get some more work in.
The fifth-seeded Canadian cruised through the quarter-final after scraping out a victory a day earlier. It will be his fourth semifinal of the season after Rome, Wimbledon and Washington, where he won his sixth career title.
"I felt good after yesterday, where I struggled for two-and-a-half sets with return," said Raonic. "I did better today, it felt good. Even last week at the Rogers Cup I returned poorly. It's good to get better now as the event goes along."
The 23-year-old Canadian remains the only player this season to reach at least six quarter-finals at the Masters 1000 level. The only one he missed out on was in Madrid, where he lost in the third round to Kei Nishikori.
Raonic will play either five-time champion Roger Federer of Switzerland or two-time champion Andy Murray of Britain on Saturday.
In doubles play, Wimbledon champions Vasek Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver and American Jack Sock reached the semifinals with a 6-2, 5-7, 10-7 win over Alexander Peya of Austria and Bruno Soares of Brazil. Peya and Soares won the doubles title last week at the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
Pospisil and Sock have now won a record 13 straight matches since first playing together at Wimbledon. They topped the previous mark of 12 set by Paul Annacone and Christo van Rensburg in 1984-'85.
Raonic was completely untroubled by the 15th-seeded Fognini, breaking him six times and saving all seven break points against his own serve. The Canadian had seven aces and took the victory when Fognini hit two straight double-faults.
"I had to do a lot of things well today, he's very unpredictable," Raonic said of the quirky Italian. "I tried top take advantage of his little slumps.
"You have to focus on yourself and make sure you do your things," he added. "You can't make predictions with him. I broke handily most of time but I was scraping out a lot of service games."
Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., remains solidly in the chase for a place in the eight-man season final in London. He currently stands a provisional seventh in the points race.