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By Chris Oddo | Thursday March 14, 2019

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic powered into the semis at the BNP Paribas Open with an efficient victory over Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia.

Photo Source: TPN/Getty

Milos Raonic continued his recent run of success at the BNP Paribas Open with a 6-3 6-4 takedown of lucky loser Miomir Kecmanovic on Thursday beneath blue skies at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

The Canadian saved all three break points he faced and broke the Serb twice on three opportunities to improve his record over the last five seasons at the BNP Paribas Open to 19-4—he has reached the quarter-finals or better in each of his last five appearances here, including an appearance in the final in 2016 (Djokovic).

In his first week training under the auspices of new coach Fabrice Santoro, Raonic has yet to face a seeded player, but that will change in the semi-finals when the 28-year-old will square off with either No.7-seeded Dominic Thiem or No. 18-seeded Gael Monfils.

Kecmanovic can still be excited about his weeks in California despite the loss today. He entered the draw after Kevin Anderson withdrew and took a first-round bye. From there he proceeded to become the first lucky loser to ever reach the quarter-finals at the BNP Paribas Open and the youngest quarter-finalist here since Michael Chang in 1991.

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He will crack the Top 100 for the first time in his career, and he’ll next play at the Miami Open where he has been given a wild card into the main draw.

Raonic has caught fire in the desert, and those who follow the lumbering Canadian are receiving good signals from his newly formed partnership with former ATP star Fabrice Santoro.

Raonic says that working with the gifted Frenchman hasn’t changed his game too much philosophically, but he’s excited about re-organizing his tactics and potentially making some changes as he develops a comfort level with the man that is commonly referred to as "the Magician." Santoro, known for an extraordinary feel and unconventional technique, is a former World No.17 that earned 470 ATP wins, forty of them coming against Top 10 talents.

“It's been good,” Raonic said of his new beginning with Santoro. “Just a lot of discussion and just using a little bit better the things I already do. We obviously haven't had a chance or opportunity to incorporate anything completely new, but it's just sort of been about organizing my game and shuffling a few things around that I'm trying to do and just to find a way to be more efficient. It's been positive.”

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With his booming serve and weapons-grade forehand Raonic doesn’t need to change a lot in his game. If he can execute he can take the racquet out of many of his opponent’s hands. Down the road, he’ll likely look to Santoro for that extra edge, perhaps when it comes to a finishing touch around the net.

Santoro is stylistically a polar opposite to Raonic, but that doesn’t mean that two can’t be a productive coach-player tandem.

On Thursday Raonic got into trouble after he broke Kecmanovic in both sets.

He broke for 2-1 in the opener then had to save a break point in the next game. He would close the game from deuce with back-to-back aces, two of thirteen on the day.

In the second set he broke for 4-3 and had to save a pair of break points in a four-deuce game to hold for 5-3.

Kecmanovic held for 4-5 but Raonic held to 15 to close affairs in 72 minutes, sealing his 11th win of the season with ace No.13.


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