Photo: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
The last Canadian standing at the Western & Southern Open, Milos Raonic, booked his spot in the semi-finals thanks to a come-from-behind victory on Wednesday night in New York City, the temporary relocation of the traditionally Cincinnati-based Masters 1000. He ousted Filip Krajinovic of Serbia, who had already caused an upset earlier in the week by eliminating the No. 2 seed Dominic Thiem.
Despite playing some dominant tennis in his previous matches, Raonic was broken early and lost the opening set, marking the first time he had dropped a set since the start of the tournament. The Canadian had opportunities to break his opponent throughout the match and finally converted when it counted, in the second set, on his eighth opportunity. With Krajinovic serving for the match, Raonic capitalized on a few errors and leveled out the score. The 29-year-old followed-up his break with a dominant service game of his own, which would help bring the set to an eventual tiebreak. It was Raonic who continued to dictate play and forced a decider.
Play was tight in the final set, with neither player willing to give an inch. After saving a match point late, Raonic managed to secure a crucial break to take his first lead in the match, notably relying on his booming forehand. He sealed the victory with a perfect service game, taking the match after nearly three hours of play by a score of 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-5. Even with a relatively slower start, Raonic picked up his serving as the match went on, finishing with a total of 24 aces.
“I kept plugging away, the momentum swung my way and I’m glad with the way that I finished the match. The margins are small, we haven’t played tennis for a while. Every match is tough, and it will be another challenge tomorrow,” stated Raonic after his win.
Playing this tournament for the seventh time in his career, the Canadian ties his best previous performances from 2014 and 2016, when he reached the semi-finals. Next up for Raonic is the no. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. That match is set to take place on Thursday.