ATP Tour

Raonic to face Pouille for Stuttgart final spot

2018-06-15 16:28
Milos Raonic (Getty)

Stuttgart - Milos Raonic reached his second semi-final of the season on Friday to set up a Stuttgart Cup clash with defending champion Lucas Pouille.

Raonic used his big-serving game to dominate a pair of tiebreakers in a 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/1) defeat of Tomas Berdych.

The clash was played between a pair of Wimbledon finalists, with Raonic reaching the All England club final four in 2016 and Berdych in 2010.

"I got fortunate in the tiebreakers," the 27-year-old Canadian seventh seed said after reaching his first semi since Indian Wells last March.

"He gave me some points at the start of both tiebreaks and I was able to keep myself disciplined on serve to win them.

"I like this court, the speed is good for me, there are no bad bounces and it's holding up well," he said of the lawns first curated under the supervision of Wimbledon groundsmen.

The oft-injured right-hander said that when he's healthy, he likes his game; he played just six matches from the end of Wimbledon last summer until the start of 2018.

"I can play well when my body allows. I wasn't ready for Australia (last January). But now that I'm back I'm playing well," said the player now coached by former great Goran Ivanisevic.

Raonic has beaten Pouille in both of their previous matches, both played in January, 2016, in Australia.

The French second seed overcame a nervous second-set to reach the semis 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3 victory over Uzbek Denis Istomin.

Pouille, coached by Germany's former ATP number two Tommy Haas, had to regain his poise after losing the second set against Istomin, ranked 100th.

"I had a few nerves near the end of the second set, but I still managed to serve well. He was playing well and pushing me back.

"After I lost the second, I was still confident. In the third I played again like I did in the first set.

"I think I did a great third set."

Pouille completed his win in a shade over two hours with 20 aces to five for his opponent. He converted on two of his dozen break chance in the tightly wound victory, saving all four break points he faced.

Meanwhile, top seed Roger Federer beat Argentine Guido Pella 6-4, 6-4. Federer needs to reach the final here to replace Rafael Nadal on the top ATP ranking.

Federer will face the winner of the day's final quarter-final between Australia's Nick Kyrgios and Spain's Feliciano Lopez, in the semi-finals.

Results at the ATP Stuttgart Cup on Friday (x denotes seed):


Roger Federer (SUI x1) bt Guido Pella (ARG) 6-4, 6-4

Nick Kyrgios (AUS x4) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP x8) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

Milos Raonic (CAN x7) bt Tomas Berdych (CZE x3) 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/1)

Lucas Pouille (FRA x2) bt Denis Istomin (UZB) 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3

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