Milos Raonic is into the semi-finals of the Delray Beach Open, whilst Félix Auger-Aliassime has reached the last four of the Open 13 after both players sealed impressive quarter-finals victories on Friday. Raonic overcame the challenge of Steve Johnson of the United States on one side of the Atlantic after Auger-Aliassime had defeated Egor Gerasimov of Belarus on the other.
Heading into his clash with Johnson (No. 76), Raonic had beaten Denis Istomin (No. 164) of Uzbekistan and Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (No. 147) of Germany. In four previous meetings against Johnson, the Canadian had won three – although, the American was the victor in their most recent clash in the 2018 edition of this event.
And Johnson got off to the perfect start in Friday’s match as he broke Raonic’s serve in the first game. However, the Canadian levelled things up at 3-3 with a break of his own and the set ended up 7-6(6) in Raonic’s favour after he won the deciding tiebreak, which was fiercely contested.
Riding a wave of momentum, the 29-year-old broke Johnson’s serve right at the start of the second set to take an early advantage. It was a lead Raonic wouldn’t relinquish as he went on to win it 6-3 after crafting another break to seal his victory. He will now take on fourth seed Reilly Opelka of the United States in Saturday’s semi-finals.
Auger-Aliassime went into his clash with Gerasimov, ranked No. 72, on the back of victories over Stefano Travaglia (No. 85) of Italy and Pierre-Hugues Herbert (No. 79) of France. The youngster from Montreal had never faced Gerasimov going into the matchup.
The meeting in Marseille began poorly for Auger-Aliassime, who dropped his serve in the very first game. However, he fought back admirably from 5-3 down to level at 5-5 before breaking Gerasimov to take the first set 7-5.
He clearly took confidence from his roaring comeback and won the second set comfortably. The 19-year-old produced breaks in the second and eighth games to claim it 6-2. In total, Auger-Aliassime won 35 of his 42 first serve points, which proved crucial in the victory.
Félix Auger-Aliassime recovers from a slow start to cruise past Egor Gerasimov 7-5, 6-2 to reach the final four at the @Open13 in Marseilles. Pretty nice not having to save match points, eh @felixtennis? 😉
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) February 21, 2020
The Canadian, seeded seventh for the tournament, will now take on Giles Simon (No. 58) of France in Saturday’s semi-final. Should he win that match, Auger-Aliassime will face either Alexander Bublik (No. 55) of Kazakhstan or Stefanos Tsitsipas (No. 6) of Greece in the final – both of whom beat Canadian opposition in their quarter-finals.
(Feature photo: Mauricio Paiz)