An intriguing semi-final clash is scheduled to take place on Saturday evening, as Canadian star Milos Raonic attempts to reach his first Masters 1000 final of the year when he meets 5-time Western & Southern Open champion Roger Federer. This marks the sixth time these two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour but Raonic is yet to pick up his first win over the legendary opponent, who leads the series 5-0. Check out the Federer vs Raonic Head to Head matches.
While it was arguably the most anticipated match of the day, it sadly failed to live up to the lofty expectations, as Federer demolished British No. 1 Andy Murray in straight sets to secure his spot in the final four in Cincinnati. Federer was in command of the match from the start and threatened Murray from his first service game before eventually closing out the 6-3, 7-5 victory.
“In the second set, I lost a little bit of the rhythm,” Federer added. “From the baseline, he was hitting the ball well – harder and deeper… I snuck in a quick break, and next thing you know, I’m back. I feel like I stole that second set.”
Murray was rightfully disappointed with himself after his abhorrent performance in the second set, where he went from 4-1 up with a double break to serving at 4-5 down before losing the set 7-5.
“I started the match off pretty slow tonight,” said Murray. “[Federer] came out quick. Then I had a couple break points in back to back games to get into it in the first set; didn’t get either of them. Then obviously was well up in the second and blew it. It’s a shame.”
Canadian No. 1 Milos Raonic also ran through his quarter-final opponent, Italy’s No. 1 Fabio Fognini. While Fognini did take a medical timeout following the opening set, it does not take away from Raonic’s far superior performance on court. He would go on to win six consecutive games in the second set to close out the match 6-1, 6-0 in 57 minutes.
“For once I actually struggled with my serve and not my return,” admitted Raonic. “A lot of things I did well today knowing and just understanding. Playing him is difficult just because of the unpredictability. I was able to break pretty handily most of the time, and then I was scrapping out quite a few.”
While Raonic has looked more confident that ever over the past few weeks, he will need more than his serve to secure a win against the 17-time Grand Slam champion. Federer is in fine form and will be motivated to prove that he is still a top competitor. He may have a slow start but as long as he can find his range he will trouble the Canadian for the majority of the contest.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Three Sets