Raonic advances to Bangkok semifinals with win over Lopez

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The Canadian Press
9/27/2013 12:57:42 PM
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BANGKOK, Thailand -- Milos Raonic has seen this scenario play out before. This time, he's hoping for a different result.

Raonic reached the semifinals of the Thailand Open on Friday with 6-4, 6-3 win over Spain's Feliciano Lopez. That sets up a semifinal match against France's Richard Gasquet on Saturday.

In last month's U.S. Open, Raonic beat Lopez in the third round only to find himself facing Gasquet in his next match in New York.

Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., will be trying to rewrite his recent history with Gasquet after losing their grand slam encounter in five sets.

He also kept his hopes alive of reaching the eight-man year-end finals in London with his 58-minute victory over Lopez.

Raonic fired 19 aces against Lopez and will be playing his fourth semi-final of the ATP season.

"I felt I played really well, I was able to control most of the points when they got started," said Raonic. "Overall I think I did well.

"I will be looking for a win tomorrow having recently lost a close five-setter to Richard."

Raonic is playing a full autumn schedule in hopes of making the field for London.

"I'm playing well and hoping to continue in Asia and back in Europe. I have three events out here and two more afterwards in hopes of qualifying for London. I really want to take this opportunity if I can.

"I was working on fitness after the Davis Cup, that's why I arrived in Bangkok at the last moment. "I want to be in the best shape possible to try and make a run for London."

Raonic, the first Canadian man achieve an ATP top 10 ranking currently stands provisional 11th in the points race for the season wrap up, two behind Gasquet, the defending Bangkok titleholder.

Raonic is aiming to become the first Canadian to advance into the year-ender in singles.

Raonic began quickly against Lopez with an immediate break of serve and collected the opening set in 30 minutes on his 11th ace. There was more of the same in the quick second set.

Raonic has split his two career meeting with Gasquet, who advanced with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 win over Russian Mikhail Youzhny.

In the other semifinal, top-seeded Tomas Berdych and Gilles Simon of France will meet for the eighth time.

Fresh from helping the Czech Republic beat Argentina in the Davis Cup semifinals, Berdych beat Yen-hsun Lu of Taiwan 7-6 (7), 6-4 to maintain his record of never losing before the semifinals in Thailand. However, he hasn't advanced in his two previous appearances.

"Sometimes, I was feeling like he was a PlayStation," Berdych said of Lu. "He was there. He was so fast. He hit so many winners."

Simon, 5-2 against Berdych, said, "I just hope that I will beat him one more time."

Simon said he was going to receive treatment on his back after he needed court-side help from a trainer after the first game of the third set against Igor Sisjling of the Netherlands.

After prevailing 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, the third-seeded Simon said it was a struggle to move on to the semifinals.

"I felt like I could have lost the two sets I won and I could have won the one I lost," he said. "It was a good win."

Asked about the back injury, he said: "I have red lights everywhere. I felt the pain very quickly in the second game of the match. Then it was worse. I thought it would be hard to finish the match at this point but finally I was getting better. My back is not in great shape now but I hope I will be fine (Saturday)."

Milos Raonic (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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