In what will possibly be one of the most unlikely Masters 1000 semi finals for a long time, Vasek Pospisil (Bio) takes on Milos Raonic (Bio) as they both aim to become the first Canadian in the final of the Canadian Open for 1958 – following in the footsteps of three times winner Robert Bedard.
Pospisil was handed a free pass into the semi finals after Nikolay Davydenko‘s early retirement in the quarter finals today but pulled off some major scalps prior to the yesterday’s match to continue his nine match winning streak. Coming from a set down in the first round against John Isner to knock off the American in two tiebreaks showed his ability to perform under pressure, especially considering he was down a minibreak both times round. He would then make light work of Radek Stepanek before picking up his first top 10 win of his career against Tomas Berdych, defeating the Czech in a third set tiebreaker.
Meanwhile, Raonic has finally found some form in his home tournament after a poor time on the grass. He was shaky against Jeremy Chardy in the opener, eventually taking it 7-5 in the third but was much more comfortable in straight set wins over Mikhail Youzhny and Juan Martin Del Potro. However, the latter victory was marred by cheating accusations after Raonic failed to own up to his touching of the net at a key point while down a break in the second set. Umpire Mohammed Lahyani would fail to spot it and Raonic would eventually break back and eventually close out the match. Ernests Gulbis was defeated in the quarter finals in three sets, striking vitally at 5-4* in the third to make the first Masters 1000 semi final of his career.
Both players have earned plenty of free points with their serve throughout this tournament and it’s unlikely to change in this match. Pospisil has 43 aces to date in the tournament with Raonic just edging him at 47. It would be expected that breaks were at a minimum although somewhat surprisingly Raonic has played just one tie break (won 7-3 vs Gulbis) all tournament. In three of his wins this week (Youzhny, Del Potro, Gulbis), he has managed to break for the match and avoid the lottery of the tiebreak. Meanwhile, Pospisil has shown nerves of steel to go for 3 for 3 this tournament.
From just inside the top 100, Pospisil’s run combined with a Vancouver Challenger title has seen him surge up the rankings and into the top 50 after his break out at this tournament. Against an opponent who has struggled for much of the year, he has a great chance to spring a shock against his fellow Canadian. The pair have actually met four times before although they are yet to play on the main tour, Pospisil going 3-1 in futures events between 2009 and 2010. Check out the Raonic vs Pospisil Head to Head
Prediction – Vasek Pospisil in 3 sets