On paper, this should have been a difficult match for Milos Raonic. The Canadian, seeded sixth, was facing fourth-seed Karen Khachanov, who was playing on home soil in Russia and sits four places above him in the ATP Tour rankings at No. 17.
In reality, it was a match of two very different sets – one a blowout and the other as evenly-matched as it gets. Either way, it was the Canadian who booked his place in Saturday’s semi-finals where he’ll face Croatia’s Borna Coric for a chance to set up a potential showdown with compatriot Denis Shapovalov in the final. Shapovalov meets Russia’s Andrey Rublev in the other semi.
Riding the strength of his impeccable service game, and causing Khachanov endless problems on his own, Raonic raced out to a 5-0 lead in the first set. The Russian just couldn’t handle the sheer power of Raonic’s shot-hitting and was subsequently well beaten 6-1.
The second set was much closer. It remained on-serve, with just one break point opportunity being manufactured at all, and eventually went to a tiebreak. Raonic got lucky with a backhand that hit the net but landed in play, giving Khachanov, who was growing increasingly frustrated, no chance at a successful return.
That helped the Canadian jump out to a 4-0 lead – one which he wouldn’t relinquish as he won the tiebreak 7-1 to seal his passage through to the tournament’s final four.