Game. Set. Match Milos.
For the first time and on his seventh attempt, Milos Raonic beat the great Roger Federer, defeating the legend in straight sets at the Paris Masters quarterfinals 7-6 (7-5), 7-5.
It was a must-win match for Raonic to keep the dream of playing in the ATP Tour Finals alive. The London 2012 Olympian from Thornhill, Ontario is in a race for a qualification spot against David Ferrer, who has also advanced to the quarterfinals. Ferrer will take on Raonic’s emerging rival Kei Nishikori in an attempt to match the Canadian. Should Ferrer lose, Raonic will clinch the last spot for the Tour Finals in London.
Raonic’s Saturday semifinal (9:30 a.m. ET live on Sportsnet One) opponent will be Tomas Berdych, who qualified for the year end ATP tournament with his quarterfinal victory in Paris over Kevin Anderson 6-7 (7-4), 6-4, 6-4. Berdych now stands in the way of Raonic reaching a tour final for the third time this season. Raonic got to the last match in Washington, winning the title and in Tokyo where Nishikori beat the Canadian in front of a home crowd.
This year Federer had gotten the best of Raonic at the semifinals of Wimbledon and the Cincinnati Masters. In their third meeting, Raonic looked far more settled and focused, refusing to be rattled even when facing a set point in the second frame, serving his way out of a break point to 5-5.
The Canadian then broke the Swiss master and world number two player, setting up a chance to serve for the match and Raonic didn’t disappoint, driving a forehand winner with Federer stranded to finish the night.
According to ATP World Tour live stats, Raonic committed only one double fault, landed 67% of his first serves and hit 21 aces. It was a near-perfect match from the Canadian as perfection is often required when needing to beat Federer.
Looking to his semifinal match, Raonic has beaten Berdych twice in their three meetings. The Canadian is ranked 10th in the world (seeded seventh in Paris), while Berdych holds down ATP’s number eight slot.