Saint Petersburg - Canadian second seed Milos Raonic cruised comfortably into the semi-finals of the one-million-dollar ATP Saint Petersburg Open on Friday with a straight-sets win over fifth seed Tommy Robredo of Spain.
The 24-year-old, targetting one of the remaining spots in the ATP World Tour finals in London in November, fired 11 aces to win through 6-1, 6-2.
Raonic, ranked ninth in the world, dominated from the outset as he broke his Spanish rival's serve twice in the opening set for a 1-0 lead after 24 minutes.
In the second set, Raonic broke twice to notch up his fifth win over Robredo in as many meetings.
"It's very important to keep myself motivated. If I manage to do that I can go all the way here," said Raonic, who next meets Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut - 6-2, 6-3 winner over France's Lucas Pouille.
Seventh seed Joao Sousa of Portugal battled past Italy's Simone Bolelli 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/1) and next meets Austria's third seed Dominic Thiem, who dispatched Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, 6-2, 7-5.
"It was really hard to beat Simone, who upset top seed Tomas Berdych on his way to the quarter-finals," said Sousa ahead of his fourth semi-final of the season.
"It's my second time here. Last year I played in the semis. This year I'll try to make a step forward to reach the final."
Results from the fifth day of the ATP St Petersburg Open on Friday (x denotes seeding):
Joao Sousa (POR x7) bt Simone Bolelli (ITA) 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/1)
Dominic Thiem (AUT x3) bt Denis Istomin (UZB) 6-2, 7-5
Roberto Bautista (ESP) bt Lucas Pouille (FRA) 6-2, 6-3
Milos Raonic (CAN x2) bt Tommy Robredo (ESP x5) 6-1, 6-2