Mon, Mar 19, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Del Potro ejects Raonic to set up Federer contest


Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina reacts yesterday in his match against Milos Raonic of Canada in their BNP Paribas Open semi-final at Indian Wells, California.

Photo: EPA

World No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro on Saturday raced past Milos Raonic in straight to book an Indian Wells finals clash with world No. 1 Roger Federer.

Former US Open winner Del Potro improved to 16-3 on the season with his 6-2, 6-3 victory over the hard-serving Canadian Raonic in just 65 minutes.

Del Potro is looking for his 22nd career and second-straight ATP title in a row after winning earlier this month in Acapulco, where he beat three top eight players in a row.

“I broke his serve quick in both sets and that gave me control of the match,” Del Potro said. “It was an easier match than I expected.”

This is the 29-year-old Argentinian’s second trip to the Indian Wells championship match, where he is to face defending champion Federer, who had to come from behind to beat Croatian Borna Coric 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

The last time Del Potro and Federer played was last year in the Basel final in Switzerland, where Federer won 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 6-3.

“I love to play against him,” Del Potro said. “Everybody was expecting that final and I will try to enjoy the atmosphere on court.”

Del Potro is back in the final for the first time in five years, having lost to Rafael Nadal in 2013 after beating Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.

Del Potro now has 400 career match wins, becoming the second Argentine to reach the milestone. However, he has a long road to catch the legend Guillermo Villas, who retired with a whopping 929 wins.

Del Potro hit three aces, won 89 percent of his first serve points and broke Raonic’s serve four times.

Raonic, who is coming back from an injury-riddled season last year, blasted six aces, but made two double faults.

“Every time you play a little short, he punishes you,” Raonic said. “He served well. He struck the ball well. I just didn’t do what I needed to do.”

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