Milos Raonic overcame a mixed bag of service metrics Wednesday to charge into the BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals, defeating Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-3 at the ATP Masters 1000 tennis tournament in Indian Wells.
Raonic, who is one win from a fourth semi-final in his past four appearances in the desert, put just 54 per cent of first serves into play and was forced to fight off three break points. But when he landed his serve the former Wimbledon finalist was in command: He won 85 per cent of first-serve points and 57 percent of second-serve points. He hit 12 aces and four double faults.
One break of Struff’s serve in each set was enough to get the job done for the World No. 14 Canadian, who is yet to hit top gear with his best shot. Raonic made just 47 per cent of first serves in his opening match against Sam Querrey before elevating that mark to 67 per cent in his third-round three-set win over Marcos Giron.
Avenging his three-set loss to Struff two weeks ago in Dubai, Raonic improved to 10-4 on the year as he continued to work his way back towards the Top 10 from a low of 35 in June last year.
The most recent of Raonic’s three Masters 1000 finals came at Indian Wells in 2016 (l. Djokovic). In the quarter-finals Raonic will face Serbian lucky loser Miomir Kecmanovic, who was leading Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4 when the Japanese No. 74 retired with a back injury.
Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz ended hopes of a second Canadian quarter-finalist when he took down #NextGen ATP contender Denis Shapovalov 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-3. In his first Masters 1000 quarter-final, the 6′ 5″ World No. 67 Hurkacz will play the winner of Roger Federer and Kyle Edmund.
“It’s definitely a disappointing loss. I feel if I played my full game today, I could have won,” said Shapovalov. “But he played really well, so credit to him. He’s really improved. He’s a really hard worker. It’s great to see him doing well.”
The 22-year-old Wroclaw native one day earlier repeated his recent Dubai victory over World No. 7 Kei Nishikori. Hurkacz has needed three sets to win his past three matches.