Raonic to face Nishikori in third straight Japan Open final appearance

Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic secured a Japan Open final spot for the third consecutive year on Saturday by taking down France’s Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-4 in Tokyo.

After dominating the first set, Raonic managed to keep is concentration when a drizzle typhoon forced officials to close the Ariake Colosseum roof causing a half-hour delay. Although facing a more combative Simon in the second set, the 7th player in the world picked up where he left off closing out the match in 1h 11 minutes.

“I believe it’s the best I have played all week,” shared Raonic with ATPworldtour.com.

“I executed well and I had a clear vision of what I need to do, so I was making the right shot selections.”

Eleven of those resulted in aces, including the match winner.

Raonic will try to win his first Japan Open title against the fourth-seeded local favorite Kei Nishikori on Sunday in what should be an exciting rematch of the 2012 final.

“It’s something to look forward to and I want to reverse the result in the final here over the past two years.”

Raonic was also on the losing end of a fourth round US Open marathon against Nishikori last month.

With Saturday’s win, Raonic takes a step closer to qualifying for what would be the first ATP World Tour Final of his career.

The Tokyo final gets underway Sunday at 1 am ET on Sportsnet ONE.