Milos Raonic (Player Profile) is on a good way to his second consecutive Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships final as he eliminated Slovak qualifier Lukas Lacko (Player Profile) in straight sets. The third seed Canadian made it through the quarterfinal match in Tokyo without facing a break point and by winning 79% of total service points. The players were equal in the opener until 3-3 when the favorite broke the deadlock by stealing the Slovak’s serve and added another break later on to close out the set. He then raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set and wrapped up the proceedings in style with a hold to love. Raonic won 6-3, 6-3 after almost exactly one hour of tennis to set up a semi-final clash against Ivan Dodig (Player Profile).
The unseeded Croat reached his third ATP World Tour semi-final of the year by dismissing Jarkko Nieminen (Player Profile) of Finland. Dodig marched through the opener where he acquired a double break cushion before taking a one set lead. He failed to serve out the match at 6-5 in the second set, yet he kept his nerves in the tie-break to advance to the semis by winning 6-2, 7-6 (3). He struck 10 aces to the Finn’s 6 and won 76% of first serve rallies (Nieminen 56%). The 34th-ranked Croat was victorious in both of the previous battles against Raonic, although they have never met on hard court prior to the upcoming Tokyo-semifinal.
“I am very happy with my performance today,” said Dodig. “Jarkko played very well and pushed me in the second set, but I was serving well and am pleased with my overall performance.”
“I have a good record against Milos, so I will be hoping to just keep playing my game and give my best,” he added.