Novak Djokovic defeats Milos Raonic to reach Cincinnati Masters semi-finals

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Novak Djokovic remained on course to win an elusive Cincinnati Masters title as he defeated Milos Raonic to reach the semi-finals.

The Wimbledon champion, who had earlier completed his weather-affected last-16 encounter against defending champion Grigor Dimitrov, defeated his big-serving Canadian opponent 7-5 4-6 6-3.

Djokovic came into the meeting with a perfect record from their previous eight meetings but was pushed hard by the former Grand Slam finalist.

Raonic was forced to save five break points in his opening service game before he broke Djokovic in the seventh game of the match to earn the early initiative, leading the world No 10 to take his frustration out on his racket.

But a run of four successive games for Djokovic, including breaking Raonic when he served for the first set at 5-4, saw the Serbian gain the upper hand.

Djokovic is seeking to complete the collection of Masters 1000 titles this week

Djokovic is seeking to complete the collection of Masters 1000 titles this week

Raonic, world No 29, responded well as he broke Djokovic in the third game of the second set before maintaining his focus behind his serve to a force a deciding set, breaking a run of 17 sets in Djokovic’s favour between the two players.

Read more >>Rafael Nadal beats Benoit Paire at the Rogers Cup

Small comfort for Raonic

Raonic won his first set against Djokovic since the Australian Open in 2015.

The deciding set saw both players trade breaks of serve until Djokovic raised his game and regained control of his emotions to impress on his return of serve to break once again before closing out the contest.

Djokovic will meet 2016 championMarin Cilicin the semi-finals after the Croatian backed up his victory over Karen Khachanov earlier in the day with an assured 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 victory over Pablo Carreno Busta.

Cilic won the most recent encounter between the two players at the Queen’s Club but Djokovic leads the head-to-head 14-2.

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