© Mike Lawrence/Citi Open

Jack Sock's forehand reached speeds approaching 120 mph Friday at the Citi Open.

Sock Blocks Milos To Reach D.C. SF

American to face Anderson on Saturday

Big-serving American Jack Sock powered into his first semi-final in five appearances at the Citi Open with an impressive 7-5, 6-4 win on Friday over third seed Milos Raonic.

Sock had fallen in the quarter-finals the past two years in Washington, D.C. but won 80 per cent of first-serve points and twice broke the Canadian to score just his third victory over Raonic in 11 career meetings. Sock dictated with his forehand – one winner was clocked at 119 mph – and rallied strongly after falling behind 1-3 early in the match.

“He’s played more big matches than me… but over time I’ve played a lot of big matches and seen that serve and game style a few more times, so I was able to scrap out and play a lot of good defensive points today and get through,” Sock told Tennis Channel moments after the match.

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Standing between Sock and a place in Sunday's championship match is 15th seed Kevin Anderson, who ended the dream run of Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. It appeared that the World No. 200 in the Emirates ATP Rankings might have one more big win up his sleeve, but Anderson scored a break in Bhambri's opening service game of the final set and held the advantage to prevail in one hour and 59 minutes.

"I'm in the semis now and just a couple of matches away from the title. I came in this week thinking I have the ability to win the tournament, but of course you have to get through five tough matches first," said Anderson. "I definitely won't be thinking about winning the title when I play Jack tomorrow. He's really tough on the hard courts and I'll need to be focused on playing good tennis, but I know I'll give myself a shot to win if I'm playing my best."

Anderson saved a match point in a final-set tie-break on Thursday night to win a wild encounter over top seed Dominic Thiem. The 31-year-old South African is through to his second ATP World Tour semi-final of the season, having also reached the final four this past May on the red clay of Estoril. Sock leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Anderson 2-1.

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