Tomas Berdych tossed in two double faults at the end of the match to all but hand Milos Raonic a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win in the Paris semifinals earlier today. The Canadian moves on to the Sunday final to face 2014 champion Novak Djokovic who eased past Kei Nishikori 6-2, 6-3.
“I got a little fortunate there at the end of the match,” said Raonic. “I was focusing on my service games. I know that’s where my game starts from; I’ve got to take care of my serve. Fortunately, I was able to do so and it worked out at the end there. I’m grateful and I’ve got to keep pushing forward.”
Berdych, the 2005 Paris champ, was serving 5-6 in the third but two double faults put him down 15-30 and then two more errors cost him the match.
“I just totally messed it up with the last game,” Berdych said. “It was definitely the worst game I ever played here at this tournament this year. You have days like this where things are going well, and then just at the last moment, everything is gone.”
The win for Raonic marks his second career ATP Masters 1000 final after reaching this stage in Canada last year. Yesterday, the 23-year-old picked up his first career victory over Roger Federer, a win which eventually put him into London.
“There was a lot of motivation from wanting to make London and I didn’t want to have any type of a letdown today,” Raonic told Sky Sports on court. “I knew I’d made it last night and I didn’t want there to be any doubt in my mind about a letdown. So I put even more pressure on myself to make sure that the mental and physical energy was there, to really push myself, because I really wanted to win the match today.”
Later, in a rematch of Nishikori’s US Open women, Djokovic gained revenge to up his Paris win streak to nine.
“It was a great match,” Djokovic told Sky Sports. “I haven’t dropped a set getting into the finals. I definitely feel fresh and motivated to play well tomorrow. We could see Kei wasn’t serving at his best, maybe he was fatigued from finishing late last night. Regardless, I played well and concentrated on what I needed to do. I served exceptionally well in the important moments and it’s something that encourages me for tomorrow.”
A win for Djokovic Sunday over Raonic will be his 600th and really put a lock on the No. 1 ranking. The Serb is 3-0 against Raonic winning eight of nine sets player.
“I’ve been very impressed with Raonic,” Djokovic said. “He’s one of the best servers in the game. He isn’t missing too many and his second serve is bouncing very high. He has very good movement for somebody of his height. He’s improved his baseline game and he’s a complete player now. He’s experiencing the best time of his career and he’s coming off back-to-back wins against Federer and Berdych and I’m sure he’s motivated to win tomorrow. Having said that he’s one of the best servers, one of the keys of the match tomorrow will be trying to get as many returns back in the court and make him play.”
Djokovic will seek his 20th Masters 1000 title, 6th of 2014 and 47th overall. He will also be gunning for a third Paris title.
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