Juan Martin del Potro upped his win streak to 15 Wednesday night, but he did it the hard way. In a rematch of a 1-sided Indian Wells semifinal, this time Milos Raonic came to play.
The Canadian had not been broken all tournament and early on kept the serve humming and sealed the first after breaking del Potro.
Milos continued to hold serve in the second but fell apart in the breaker 7-1.
Remarkably, after just one break in the first two sets, a flurry of breaks began the third. Three straight in fact before things settled down. But once again, in the breaker, it was del Potro who proved the stronger player and after a 2-hours, 52-minute 5-7, 7-6(1), 7-6(3) battle, it was the Argentine into his second Miami semifinal, and first since 2009.
“It was great tennis and a battle,” said del Potro. “We both enjoyed the game and the crowd were amazing, making for an incredible atmosphere on court. I’m so glad to still be alive and reach the semifinals.
“I always think this may be my last match, so I put in a lot of effort to give myself a chance to win,” he added. “I’m pleased with my level of tennis and all my success, but of course I’d like to reach the final.”
Del Potro will have the day off Thursday before returning Friday afternoon to take on a suddenly-in form John Isner.
The American big man routed Australian Open semifinalist Hyeon Chung 6-1, 6-4 in just 69 minutes.
“I was in a good rhythm on the court. Obviously I was taking care of my serve, but I didn’t feel like today I needed to really red-line things out there and try to end the points so short. I felt like I could be patient from the baseline, because I was very happy with how I was playing and how I was moving,” Isner said.
“This is actually the best I’ve moved all year. That’s not working harder, or training harder off the court; that’s just from me being more confident on the court.”
Isner had just two match wins all season entering Miami, but has four already en route to his second Miami semifinal, and 11th at a Masters.
“It just goes to show that in tennis, in any sport really, you can appear to be down and out but if you keep the faith and keep plugging along and keep believing that good things are ahead, they’re actually going to come true, and that’s certainly been the case for me this week,” Isner said.
The 32-year-old though is down 6-3 in his series with del Potro but won their last meeting last fall in Paris.
“Del Potro is playing the best tennis in the world right now. I don’t think that can be argued,” Isner said looking ahead.
Before that match, two more quarterfinals will be played on Thursday.
Kevin Anderson will try to break an 0-9 Masters quarterfinal mark against Pablo Carreno Busta. Anderson has won all four meetings with the Spaniard including at the US Open semifinals and just two weeks ago at Indian Wells.
In the evening, it’s another US Open rematch as Alexander Zverev will try to earn his first victory over Borna Coric who has won both previous meetings against the German. Coric comes in off an Indian Wells semifinal while Zverev is into his second straight Miami quarterfinal.
All four quarterfinals Thursday are bidding to reach their first Miami semi.
THURSDAY MIAMI SCHEDULE
STADIUM start 1:00 pm
WTA – [WC] V. Azarenka (BLR) vs  S. Stephens (USA)
Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP –  P. Carreno Busta (ESP) vs  K. Anderson (RSA)
ATP –  A. Zverev (GER) vs  B. Coric (CRO)
Not Before 9:00 pm
WTA –  J. Ostapenko (LAT) vs [Q] D. Collins (USA)
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