Milos Raonic saved a match point to defeat Filip Krajinovic 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-5 on Wednesday evening, advancing to the semi-finals of the Western & Southern Open.
Krajinovic, who made the final of the 2017 Rolex Paris Masters, acquitted himself well, serving for the victory at 6-4, 5-4. But Raonic raised his aggression and eventually triumphed after two hours and 43 minutes.
“There was a lot of doubt. He was
serving for it in the second, [had] match point in the third. was creating some opportunities early in both sets [and] I wasn’t making the most of [them]. He would step up,” Raonic said. “I just kept plugging away,
knowing that guys haven’t played for a while. I just wanted
to do things well, and I got a little fortunate that it turned
around for me.”
Krajinovic held match point at 5-4 in the decider, with Raonic serving at 30/40. The former World No. 3 missed his first serve, but he backed up his second serve with a series of punishing forehands to stave off defeat. Raonic will next play reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, whom he defeated in straight sets at this year’s Australian Open. That was the pair’s only previous ATP Head2Head meeting.
After the match, it was announced that tournament play would be paused on Thursday to recognise a moment in time in which tennis is collectively taking a stance against racial inequality and social injustice.
Before that announcement, Raonic told the media: “I think real disruption, I think that’s what makes change. I think a lot of real disruption is caused by affecting people in a monetary way, and that can force some kind of change. So I’m hoping with what the NBA does, and I’m hoping that we, at least on the men’s tour as well as the women’s, we band together and we show our support,” Raonic said. “There [are] many people that are not being treated fairly, are being disrespected, having to live in fear, a lot of things that I have never had to experience.
“It’s very unfortunate, very sad. I’m hoping that there is a change, and I’m hoping that the actions that do take course over the next days, weeks, months, years — this isn’t going to change in a day, really, to create a change, a systematic change that creates an equal opportunity for everybody, especially in the free world.”
On the court, Raonic has shown fine form in the first tournament since the ATP Tour was suspended in March due to COVID-19. In the third round, he snapped an eight-match losing streak against former World No. 1 Andy Murray 6-2, 6-2.
The World No. 30 is pursuing his first Masters 1000 title. Raonic advanced to the championship match at the 2013 Coupe Rogers, the 2014 Rolex Paris Masters and the 2016 BNP Paribas Open.