Milos Raonic reacts after beating Vasek Pospisil during their semi-final tennis match at the 2013 Rogers Cup men's tennis tournament at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal on Saturday, August 10, 2013.
Photograph by: Dario Ayala, The Gazette
MONTREAL — Milos Raonic defeated fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 Saturday to reach the final of the $3.4-million Rogers Cup Canadian Open men’s tennis championships at the Jarry Tennis Centre.
Pospisil had the edge in aces (14-9) and winners (39-31) but Raonic came up big on the important points and took the decidng tiebreaker 7-4.
Raonic took advantage of a single service break to win the opening set but the momentum swung to Pospisil in the second set. He broke Raonic in the second game and again in the sixth game
In Sunday’s final (3 p.m., CBC, Radio-Canada), Raonic will meet fourth-seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain, who raced to a 6-0 lead in the deciding tiebreaker and defeated top seeded and two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia 6-4. 3-6. 7-6 (2).
Raonic and Pospisil will make significant jumps in the ATP rankings on the strength of their play over the past week. The 11th-seeded Raonic will become the first Canadian to earn a top-10 ranking. He was 13th going into the event.
Raonic said reaching the top 10 stands out “because it's a goal that I set out this year. To be able to do it here in Montreal is pretty amazing. It's not even just for myself, top 10, just the fact we have two Canadians who are beyond what the record was from before for highest ranked Canadian. I think that's significant on its own.
“For me, it's a very special day to at least get to a goal which looked a little bit difficult after how I played recently. But to do it here in Montreal, it's a relief and it's a happy feeling.”
Raonic said he had no preference for an opponent in the final.
“Whatever I say now will not make a difference. I think it would be a waste of energy to sort of be cheering one way or another."
Pospisil will make an even bigger jump, going from No. 71 to a career-high No, 37. He was No. 89 three weeks ago.
“It’s definitely a tough loss for me,” said Pospisil. “I wanted to win that one, for sure. I was really close. I had chances, then he played well in some moments. Others, I made a few mistakes I haven't been making this week and wouldn't normally make. But still obviously a great week. I have to look at it positively, for sure. Yeah, hopefully I can keep going from here.”
Pospsil has an opportunity to climb even higher over the next three weeks because he’ll be playing a Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati — he plays Frenchman Gilles Simon in the first round Tuesday — and is in main draw of the U.S. Open and he doesn’t have points to defend in either event.
“I felt like I was not dominating, but I was winning most of the points from the baseline once the rallies were started,” said Pospisil. “I felt like I was in a good position. The tiebreak got away from me a little bit there at the end, a couple of loose points. But I went for it. No regrets. I didn't want to lose the match playing defensive. I tried to go for it even with the nerves that there were. This time it didn't work out.”
Raonic is the first Canadian to reach the Canadian Open final in the Open Era, which began in 1968, and the first since Sherbrooke native Bob Bedard won the event in 1958.
Nadal reached the final for the 10th time in his last 11 tournaments. After he and Djokovic split the first two sets, the players stayed on serve throughout the second set. But Nadal stepped it up in the tiebreaker as he dominated from the baseline to take a 6-0 lead. Djokovic fought off two match points but Nadal prevailed 7-2.
“I thought I could have played better,” said Djokovic. “I made a lot of unforced errors when I had chances, you know, in the rallies. A lot of easy forehands that I missed. You can't afford that when you're playing against Rafa; he doesn't give you many chances."
Nadal’s play should answer any questions about the state of his knee. He has avoided most hardcourt events this year but won his only previous hardcourt event at Indian Wells and now is in the final here. He was playing for the first time in seven weeks after losing in the first round at Wimbledon.
Daniel Nestor of Toronto, who is playing in the Canadian Open for a 25th consecutive year, saw his hopes of a doubles title end in the semifinals. The sixth-seeded team of Nestor and Swede Thomas Lindstedt lost to Britons Andy Murray and Colin Fleming 6-3, 6-0. The winners will meet third-seeded Alexander Peya of Austria and Bruno Soares of Brazil in the final Sunday at 1 p.m.
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