It was a largely anti-climatic day for the men at Indian Wells. Milos Raonic returned for the fourth to the Indian Wells final four after thumping newcomer Miomir Kecmanovic 6-3, 6-4 in their afternoon collision.
Raonic, who have to overcome a 4-1 third set deficit in the third round to Marcus Giron, has stepped up his game winning straights over Jan-Lennard Struff and today the Serbian teen.
“In a few key moments my serve really helped me out,” said Raonic who lost just four points on first serve. “I knew it was going to be tough. He’s won his last three matches against good players.
“So I knew he had nothing to lose, and I had to be really disciplined with myself, and I’m happy I was able to follow through.”
Raonic finished with 13 aces and saved all three break points faced. He will seek a second Indian Wells final appearance after 2016. It’s clearly a place he plays well at.
“I think the conditions are good for me, especially when the sun’s out,” said Raonic. “The court heats up a little bit. There is a good amount of jump on the court. This year it’s a little bit slower than the previous years, but it allows me to take a few more swipes at a few more shots, and I can do different things with my serve that I need to get ahead in the point.”
The 130th-ranked Kecmanovic who got in as a “lucky loser”, will climb into the Top 100 after his best week. The 19-year-old already has a wildcard into the Miami Masters.
In the evening, the quarterfinal between Gael Monfils and Dominic Thiem never happened as the Frenchman withdrew right before the match with an achilles injury. Monfils came out to address the crowd that he would not be able to play.
“I tried to warm up and my left Achilles was very painful since a couple days, and this morning was really tough for me, to run 100%, and tonight I tried to hit a little bit, and I cannot compete 100% tonight,” said Monfils.
Thiem was a perfect 4-0 against Monfils who played so well in destroying Philipp Kohlschreiber last night. Thiem awarded Monfils a walkover in Dubai last year due to a back injury.
So Thiem, into his first Indian Wells semifinal, will take on Raonic on Saturday. For Raonic, it will be the first Top 50 player he’s faced thus far.
Meanwhile, tomorrow will see Federer and Nadal try to take their rivalry to Saturday as both meet young 22-year-olds trying to play spoiler.
Federer takes on the Pole Hubert Hurkacz who had never won a Masters match before. Now after a Dubai quarterfinal and two wins over Kei Nishikori, Hurkacz has to be feeling good about playing someone he admired so much growing up.
“I watch his great matches. He’s unbelievable player,” Hurkacz said. “He had amazing results. I mean, winning that many Grand Slams, tournaments, yeah, for sure, he’s special. It’s gonna be fun to play against him.”
Nadal will bid for a sixth win over Karen Khachanov. After a poor start to 2019, The Russian has resumed his strong Masters play from his Paris title last November. Nadal edged the Russian in four tough sets at the US Open.
“I think it was one of the best matches from last year and in general, maybe, like, in terms of fight, spirit, intensity, the rallies, the atmosphere. Everything was amazing,” Khachanov said of that US Open match against Rafa.
“He’s one of the best tennis players, great champion. And nothing to lose, let’s say. You know, I’m playing better. Feeling more confident. It will be a good challenge, good match for me. I’m really looking forward to have a good match against him.”
Novak Djokovic also will be in action, in doubles after Roger and Rafa.
FRIDAY INDIAN WELLS SCHEDULE
STADIUM 1 11:00 Am
QF Hubert Hurkacz v 4 Roger Federer
Not Before 1:30 Pm
QF 12 Karen Khachanov v 2 Rafael Nadal
SF 6 Lukasz Kubot-Marcelo Melo v Novak Djokovic-Fabio Fognini
Not Before 6:30 Pm
SF (WC) Bianca Andreescu v 6 Elina Svitolina
Not Before 9:00 Pm
SF 23 Belinda Bencic v 8 Angelique Kerber
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