By Erik Gudris | Friday, August 1, 2014
Milos Raonic saw off one American to set up a semifinal meeting with another local favorite at the Citi Open.
Photo Credit: Christopher Levy
Canada's Milos Raonic ended the run of one unseeded American to set up a meeting with yet another in the Citi Open semifinals at Washington D.C.
The No. 2 seed faced off against Steve Johnson who ousted both John Isner and Ivo Karlovic. But Raonic proved one big server too many for the former NCAA standout player during their Friday quarterfinal.
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Both men never faced a break point throughout the opening set resulting in a tiebreak. Raonic pulled away early in the breaker and closed it out 7-6(2). The second set proved easier for Raonic who struck 16 total aces en route to a 7-6(3), 6-2 win.
The recent Wimbledon semifinalist talked about what he felt are the biggest improvements to his game in the last 12 months.
"I think I've gotten better of knowing what I need to do," Raonic said. "I've stepped up in all of the tiebreaks this week. In those moments, I buckled down and I did the right things and they worked out for me. Technically, I think specifically on the return, because if I can get a good start on the return games, especially second serves, the rest of my game can fall into place.
Raonic will now face another American player making an unexpected run this week in D.C.
Donald Young took on No. 7 seed Kevin Anderson in an earlier quarterfinal. Anderson easily took the first set and looked poised to end the match in a second set tiebreak. Young, spurred on by the crowd, won it 7-6(3) and then went up an early break in the third.
Despite light rain falling on court, Young maintained his momentum including breaking Anderson in the final game. With that, Young celebrated the 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-2 win.
D.C. is now the first ATP semifinal appearance for Young since Bangkok in 2011.
Gasquet Denies Nishikori Once Again
No. 6 seed Richard Gasquet of France entered his quarterfinal versus Japan's Kei Nishikori having never lost in four previous meetings.
The Frenchmen took control early in the opening set with several piercing one-handed backhands. Nishikori, who appeared hampered with his movement, connected on few winners of his own. With that, Gasquet raced away with the set 6-1.
Gasquet took hold of an early break to start the second set. Keeping hold of his advantage, Gasquet soon served for the match up 5-4. The only real drama of the night occurred in the next game when Gasquet saved a break point thanks to a mistimed Nishikori return. An ace soon set up a winning match point for Gasquet who came away with the 6-1, 6-4 win.
Nishikori, in press, denied nothing physically was wrong with him.
"Every match is different," Gasquet said on his perfect record over Nishikori. "I don't know exactly why. Maybe next time he will win against me. It's true I play well against him many times. He's a very good player and a big victory for me to win against him today.
Gasquet will next face the winner of the last quarterfinal of the evening between Santiago Giraldo and Vasek Pospisil.