Milos Raonic showed that he’s not ready to hand over the mantle of Canada’s most dangerous player to Denis Shapovalov just yet, beating the #NextGenATP star 7-6(6), 6-4 to reach the Western & Southern Open quarter-finals Thursday.
Raonic will attempt to equal the semi-final runs he made in Cincinnati in 2014 and ’16 when on Friday he faces either Novak Djokovic or Grigor Dimitrov.
“I think I got myself into more points on his serve than he did on mine. I think that was an important thing.” Raonic said. “It was the thing I struggled with most last time we played, so I definitely made sure to focus on that and sort of try to change that a little bit.”
The 27-year-old Raonic saved a set point on Shapovlaov’s serve in the first-set tie-break when the left-hander made a loose baseline error. The former Wimbledon finalist led 4-1 in the second before Shapovalov broke to love en route to levelling the set at 4-all. But Raonic held serve and then converted his first match point at Ad out when he ran down a challenging half-volley drop shot to slide a compact backhand down the line past Shapovalov.
“I played a bad game to give him that set point, for him to have a chance to serve it out in that first set,” Raonic said. “I think I put in a lot of returns. I took care of my serve pretty handily other than one really bad game, but otherwise, it was a pretty good match from my end.”
Raonic, the former World No. 3, is currently No. 29 in the ATP Rankings after suffering from a knee injury earlier this year, which forced his withdrawal from Rome and Roland Garros as well as mid-tournament walkovers in Monte-Carlo and at The Queen’s Club.
Did You Know?
Raonic has lost just eight first-serve points in his first three matches in Cincinnati, winning 91.6 per cent (87/95) of those points.