SHARE
COPY LINK

ROGER FEDERER

Federer derailed by Raonic at Paris Masters

Big serving Milos Raonic upset world number two Roger Federer 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 to make the Paris Masters tennis tournament semifinals on Friday and stay alive in the race to reach the World Tour Finals.

Federer derailed by Raonic at Paris Masters
Photo: AFP

The victory for the Canadian was his first over Federer in seven meetings and also snapped the Swiss maestro's 14-match winning streak.

Winner of six ATP titles, including in Washington this year, Raonic must claim the Paris title to guarantee his place in London for the eight-man season finals.

In a match dominated by serve, Raonic took the first set in a tie-break before forcing the only break of serve in the match at 5-5 in the second before closing out the tie.

He has now reached the quarter-finals or better in 13 of his last 18 Masters appearances.

Behind a first serve percentage of 67 per cent and 21 aces, Raonic always had his illustrious opponent under pressure and served out the match in just over 90 minutes.

"I played well throughout the match and served really well so it's a great victory," said Raonic, who now faces Tomas Berdych in the semifinals on Saturday.

Raonic created the only break point of the first set at 3-2 up but Federer was up to the task as booming first serves from both players dominated affairs.

There were 18 aces in the opening set with Raonic bombing down 11 but the tie-break decided the set and it was the Canadian who had the last word as he painted the line with a huge serve to claim the set with an ace in just under an hour.

The second set was equally tight before Raonic snatched the crucial break in the 11th game before closing out his historic victory.

Berdych guaranteed his place at the World Tour finals for the fifth straight year when he defeated South African Kevin Anderson.

The Czech, who won the Bercy tournament on his debut in 2005, his only Masters title to date, came through a tight contest 6-7, (4/7), 6-4, 6-4 in just under three hours.

It was the 12th victory for Berdych over Anderson in 12 meetings.

"We've had some very close matches and some five-setters but I think the statistics do not tell the real story," he said.

"It's always tough against Kevin and today we played nearly three hours but I think it was a great match.

"No matter how many times you make that, it's probably never going to be, you know, like a routine thing," Berdych added on his qualification for London.

"It's always just proof of having a great season, and especially in this era of tennis. I'm so happy and feel lucky to have made it through so now it's another semi-final and it's been a great tournament for me so far."

Berdych, who also reached the semi-finals of the Miami Masters where he withdrew with a stomach bug before facing Rafael Nadal, is chasing an 11th ATP title and third this year after victories at Rotterdam and Stockholm.

The players now qualified for London are Novak Djokovic, Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic, Andy Murray and Berdych with David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori holding the last two spots and trying to hold off the charging Raonic.

British number one Murray is next on court against world number one and defending champion Djokovic before Spanish fourth seed Ferrer tackles sixth seed Nishikori in the last quarterfinal match-up.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

TENNIS

Williams slams Sharapova book ahead of French Open clash

Serena Williams turned up the heat on Saturday ahead of her French Open clash with bitter rival Maria Sharapova, saying the claims about her in the Russian's book were "hearsay" and not "necessarily true".

Williams slams Sharapova book ahead of French Open clash
Serena Williams of the US holds a ball as she prepares to serve to Germany's Julia Goerges on day seven of the French Open. Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP
Sharapova, who Williams has beaten 18 times in a row, claimed in her recent memoir 'Unstoppable' that Serena “hated” her for hearing her cry after the 2004 Wimbledon final.
   
The fourth-round match at Roland Garros on Monday will be the first time the two have faced off since the American's win in the 2016 Australian Open quarter-finals — Sharapova's last match before serving a 15-month doping ban.
   
“I think the book was 100 percent hearsay, at least all the stuff I read and the quotes that I read, which was a little bit disappointing,” said Williams after her 6-3, 6-4 third-round win over Julia Goerges.
   
“I have cried in the locker room many times after a loss, and that's what I have seen a lot of people do. I think it's normal. It's a Wimbledon final, you know. So it's just, like, I think it would be more shocking if I wasn't in tears…
   
“The book was a lot about me. I was surprised about that, to be honest. You know, I was, like, 'oh, okay. I didn't expect to be reading a book about me, that wasn't necessarily true'.”
   
The 23-time Grand Slam champion, who holds a 19-2 record over Sharapova, is playing her first major tournament since winning the 2017 Australian Open, after giving birth to her daughter Olympia.
   
Williams's only two losses to fellow former world number one Sharapova came 14 years ago — in the 2004 Wimbledon final and at the WTA Tour Championships — before even the birth of Twitter and YouTube.
   
But both are on the road back towards the top of the sport after their recent absences.
   
Williams had played only four matches since taking time off due to pregnancy before arriving at Roland Garros.
   
Sharapova is seeded for the first time at a Grand Slam since her suspension for using meldonium and is playing her first French Open since 2015 after being refused a wildcard by tournament organisers last year.
   
But the 36-year-old thinks the Russian should be the favourite on Monday as she lacks playing time, while Sharapova produced her best tennis since returning to the court in dismantling former world number one Karolina 
Pliskova 6-2, 6-1.
   
“Quite frankly, she's probably a favourite in this match, for sure,” added Serena. “She's been playing for over a year now. I just started. So I'm just really trying to get my bearings and trying to feel out where I am and see where I can go.”
 
'Numbers don't lie'
 
The rivalry between the two has been a bitter one since the Russian's shock victory over Williams as a 17-year-old at Wimbledon, but she admitted that the “numbers don't lie”.
   
Sharapova has lost their last seven meetings in straight sets and has managed to take only three sets in those 18 straight losses.
 
“Any time you play against Serena you know what you're up against,” said the 31-year-old. “You know the challenge that is upon you. You know, despite the record that I have against her, I always look forward to coming out on the court and competing against the best player.
   
“I think there is a lot of things in her game that she's done much better than I have… Numbers don't lie.”
   
But for all the bad blood between the two over the years — often involving claims and counter-claims over their private lives — Sharapova added in her book that reconciliation may come once the on-court battles are over.
   
“Serena and I should be friends; we have the same passion. But we are not. I think, to some extent, we have driven each other. Maybe that's what it takes,” she wrote.
   
“Only when you have that intense antagonism can you find the strength to finish her off. Who knows? Some day, when all this is in our past, maybe we'll become friends.”
SHOW COMMENTS