Could Canadian Milos Raonic be on his way to a second BNP Paribas Open final in three years? He’s certainly on the right track after a routine 6-3, 6-4 win over Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic to qualify for the semi-finals.

It’s not always easy facing an opponent who’s labelled an unquestionable underdog. Ranked 130th in the world, lucky loser Kecmanovic entered Thursday’s quarter-final with almost nothing to lose and everything to gain.

But Raonic quickly ensured any slight hope of a passage through to the final four was squashed with a professional performance laced with power, precision and an icy mentality we’ve become used to seeing from the world no. 14.

An early break allowed the Canadian to settle in nicely. Although he had to face a break point in the very next game, Raonic didn’t panic – coolly collecting his thoughts before firing consecutive 130+ mile-per-hour serves past his opponent to see off any threat. A relaxed Raonic would go onto win the first set comfortably 6-3.

As the second set wore on, it seemed inevitable the 28-year-old would take control. At 3-3, the Canadian manufactured two break point opportunities, taking the second with a stylish backhand at the net to put himself in the driver’s seat.

Kecmanovic made a commendable effort to bite back immediately, coming from behind to set up deuce and then another two break point opportunities. But it just wasn’t to be his day as Raonic regrouped to reclaim command of the game before going on to win the set 6-4 and, subsequently, the match.

Raonic’s swift victory meant Gabriela Dabrowski and doubles partner Xu Yifan’s semi-final match against Aryna Sabalenka and Elise Mertens was moved onto Stadium 1. However, they were unable to overcome their opponents to reach the final, losing in straight sets 6-2, 7-6(5) to bring an end to an impressive run.

(Feature photo: Kathryn Riley/BNP Paribas Open)