Tokyo - Last year's finalist Milos Raonic roared into the semi-finals of the
Japan Open with a crushing 6-3, 6-3 victory over Slovakia's Lukas Lacko
The third seed, runner-up to local hero Kei Nishikori
at the $1.43 million event last year, took just 62 minutes to end the
fine run of Lacko in Tokyo.
Canadian Raonic, enjoying a purple
patch of form after winning his fifth career title in Bangkok last
weekend, blasted 11 aces and many more which put Lacko in harm's way,
threatening to hit the fur off the ball at times with his bullet serve.
world number 11 will play Ivan Dodig in the last four after the
Croatian beat Finland's Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 7-6 in chilly conditions in
the first quarter-final.
"I've dealt well with the different
conditions," Raonic said. "Confidence is a big part of that. I've
had hot and humid indoors, hot with the roof open and now cold.
"The court was a big quicker on Friday which gave me more free points on my serve and helped pay quicker dividends."
seed Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion and Tokyo
finalist in 2008, plays Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov while fourth seed
Nishikori, who became the host country's first Japan Open winner last
year, faces Spain's Nicolas Almagro in the later quarter-finals.
Results from the ATP Japan Open in Tokyo on Friday (x denotes seeding, *denotes new result)
Milos Raonic (CAN x3) bt Lukas Lacko (SVK) 6-3, 6-3
Ivan Dodig (CRO) bt Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 6-2, 7-6 (7-3)
*Juan Martin del Potro (ARG x1) bt Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
*Nicolas Almagro (ESP x6) bt Kei Nishikori (JPN x4) 7-6 (7-2), 5-7, 6-3