Big-serving Raonic through to Chennai Open semis

Chennai: Big-serving Milos Raonic of Canada did not dish out his best tennis today, but still he managed to book his place in the semifinals of the Aircel Chennai Open by defeating Israel`s Dudi Sela in straight sets here.

Fourth seed Raonic, the recipient of ATP Newcomer Award for 2011, took 90 minutes to get the better of world ranked 83rd, Sela 7-6 (4) 6-3 in the quarterfinal of the USD 450,000 event.

Raonic, who jumped 131 places to a career-high 25 last year, will now face the winner of the quarterfinal match between second seed Nicolas Almagro of Spain and Japanese qualifier Yuichi Sugita to be played later tonight.

Against Sela, the young Canadian was not at his usual best. Even though Raonic`s strong point, his service was not up to the mark today, it was enough for him to get past his Israeli opponent.

As a matter of fact, Sela was serving better than Raonic in both the sets but in the end the Canadian`s ability to come up with aces on crucial points made the difference. In all, Raonic fired 15 aces in the match.

The first set was a hard-fought affair as Sela matched Raonic stroke-for-stroke, but the Israeli failed to capitalise on a break point cum set point at 6-all, which brought the tie-breaker into action.

In the tie-breaker it was all Raonic as riding on his booming serve, the Canadian first took a 4-0 lead and then closed out the set at 7-4.

In the second, Raonic had some anxious moments in the ninth game when Sela got to break points but he failed on both occasion.

The 21-year-old Raonic then broke Sela in the sixth game of the second set to go up 5-2 with a thundering ace.

Raonic, who made it to the fourth round of the Australian Open last year, drew curtains to the encounter with two more aces in the final game.


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