Raonic ends Kecmanovic run, reaches Indian Wells semi-finals
Indian Wells - Canadian Milos Raonic made sure Miomir Kecmanovic's luck ran out on Thursday, beating the 19-year-old Serbian 6-3, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals of the ATP Indian Wells Masters.
Raonic, ranked 14th in the world, fired 13 aces and broke Kecmanovic once in each set to keep his bid to better his 2016 runner-up finish on track.
He'll face eighth-ranked Austrian Dominic Thiem, who advanced after France's world number 19 Gael Monfils retired before their match, citing a left Achilles tendon injury.
Kecmanovic, who failed to make it through qualifying but gained entry to the main draw when fifth-seeded Kevin Anderson withdrew, was the first lucky loser to reach the quarter-finals at Indian Wells since the tournament served as the inaugural ATP Masters 1000 in 1990.
Although Raonic had beaten him in their only prior encounter in Brisbane this year, he knew Kecmanovic would be eager to keep his surprise run going.
"He's won his last three matches against good players," Raonic said. "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's serve wasn't at it's booming best. He put only 55 percent of his first serves in play. But when he did, he won nearly 90 percent of the points, and his serve was good enough when he needed it most.
"I think that can get better," Raonic said. "But there's other things I'm doing well, for sure. As soon as I had a chance on the first forehand, I was able to find my way to be the one dictating the point. And I put a lot of returns in and gave myself a chance there."
While the 130th-ranked Kecmanovic fell short in his bid to become just the third lucky loser to reach the semi-finals of a Masters 1000 event, he can regroup for the upcoming Miami Masters - where he has been given a wild card into the main draw.
Results on Thursday in the BNP Paribas Open WTA and ATP Masters hardcourt tournament (x-denotes seeded player):
Dominic Thiem (AUT x7) bt Gael Monfils (FRA x18) walkover
Milos Raonic (CAN x13) bt Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 6-3, 6-4
Belinda Bencic (SUI x23) bt Karolína Plískova (CZE x5) 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
Angelique Kerber (GER x8) bt Venus Williams (USA) 7-6 (7/3), 6-3