Milos Raonic continued to roll at the Paris Masters on Saturday beating Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in three sets 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 to earn a spot in the tournament final.
Sunday will be the third time this season that Raonic has reached an ATP final, having won in Washington and finished runner-up in Tokyo.
The man who beat Raonic in Japan, Kei Nishikori, is in the other Paris semifinal facing world number one Novak Djokovic. The winner will meet Raonic on Sunday.
Raonic reached another important stage this weekend when Nishikori knocked David Ferrer out of the Paris tourney. That Ferrer defeat combined with Raonic’s own quarterfinal win means the Canadian will be among the eight contestants invited to the ATP World Tour Finals – #FinalShowdown – set to take place in London this month.
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Early breaks defined the opening two sets of the match with Raonic going up 3-1 in the first, and Berdych starting with a 2-0 advantage in the second. Both men consolidated and never stumbled to the end of each set.
Raonic slayed demons of tennis past by ousting Roger Federer for the first time in his career less than 24-hours prior to the semifinal. Following up such an emotional victory would be a tough task for any player mentally and physically, and Raonic, 23, showed some rust struggling with his first serve at well below 60% in the opening two sets.
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But the first serves started to land in the final frame. When Raonic took a 5-4 lead, he was at 66% and had already hit six aces, equaling his total output from sets one and two in the latter category.
Berdych made it 5-5 despite some scare in the next game, including a double fault. Raonic then ensured at least a tie-break by blasting his way to a 6-5 lead. However, on Berdych’s serve the Czech hit the ball long to set up match point before Raonic sealed the deal when his opponent hit his final return into the net.
More to come.