Raonic Races Into Stuttgart QFs

The Canadian will play 2010 Wimbledon finalist Berdych in the quarter-finals

Milos Raonic, 2016 Wimbledon finalist, cruised past Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 6-2, 6-4 in 51 minutes at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart on Thursday to set an exciting quarter-final clash against 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych.

"It's never easy on grass. Obviously the one important thing for me was I held my serve pretty routinely throughout the match. That puts a lot of pressure on my opponent so when I do get a few chances, they feel a lot more difficult for him because it could be the end of that set," Raonic said. "I'm doing things well. I'm happy with the way I'm playing, and I hope I can continue this way." 

Raonic, who made at least the quarter-finals at two of his four ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events this season (Indian Wells, Miami), is pursuing his first tour-level grass-court title. He hit 19 aces and lost just seven points on serve to move into the final eight. Raonic has not faced a break point in his first two matches. The Canadian leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Berdych 5-3.

Berdych snapped a five-match losing streak, defeating Frenchman Benoit Paire 7-6(3), 6-4 to set the battle against Raonic.

The No. 3 seed, who has reached back-to-back Wimbledon semi-finals, had not lost five consecutive matches since the end of 2004 through the beginning of 2005, when he dropped six in a row. At the time, the Czech was just 19 years old. But he bounced back on the Stuttgart grass, dropping just six first-serve points and saving the only break point he faced to move past the World No. 47. 

"It was a tough one. He's a very talented player. You really don't know until the last moment what's going to come up. He's very talented, all the shots he can make. For the first time after such a long time, to play him, it's not easy. But I'm glad that I had a good test and I think I played very well throughout the whole match," Berdych said.

Berdych now leads Paire 3-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series after defeating the Frenchman in their first meeting since Roland Garros in 2015. The Czech showed good form early in the season, reaching at least the quarter-finals at three of his first four tournaments. Berdych seeks his first ATP World Tour title since the Shenzhen Open in 2016.

Did You Know?
No. 7 seed Milos Raonic has won 92.2 per cent of first-serve points (59/64) through two matches in Stuttgart.

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