Milos Raonic  def. Sam Querrey  7-5 2-6 6-3
The road may still be long for Milos Raonic, but the hard court spring swing has set him on the right path, after he edged last American man standing Sam Querrey to book a spot in the BNP Paribas Open semi-final. Raonic reached his third semi in the desert, were he was the 2016 Finalist.
It was not all plain sailing through, with the Canadian getting broken in the first game as Querrey enjoyed the support of the home crowd. However, after that initial lapse the first set was competitive, until the end where Raonic looked to be getting back into his stride, breaking Querrey twice to grab the first set.
However perhaps the lack of match sharpness started to tel, wtih Querrey needing just two break points over the second set to brea Raonic twice at either end of the set to level the proceedings.
In a highly competitive third set, neither man looked to give an inch, with not a sniff of a break point until the penultimate game, with Raonic striking out for home. It took a couple of match points to get it done, not to mention fending off three break back points, but victory was Raonic’s.
Raonic came into this match with just one match win in Delray Beach, and his list of injuries makes an episode of Casualty seem tame.
He told reporters after the match: “I think the thing that kept me away where, you know, at the beginning of last year I had a couple tears in my — let’s go down the list. Right adductor, left glut at the beginning of the year. Then I tore my hamstring beginning of February.
“After Wimbledon I had to have wrist surgery. Through the summer I tried to play a few events, tried to treat the issue. That wasn’t possible. I had surgery just before the US Open. Was hoping to start my offseason in the early weeks of October. No, early weeks of November.
“And then in November I hurt my knee. I hurt my meniscus, so I couldn’t play for six weeks. Started training just before the Australian Open, and I’m here today.
“It’s been a catastrophe.”
Now having made a third semi-final in the desert, Raonic seems to be a lot more at ease with the atmosphere here in California compared to elsewhere on the tour.
He elaborated: I just have a personal calm at this event maybe compared to others. It’s a little bit quieter here. It’s easier to be around the tennis. You
don’t have to fight through traffic to get here. You get here with ease. So I think that gives me a personal calm.
“I think the conditions help. Obviously this year it’s quite a bit slower than it has been in the past, but the ball still moves through the air even though the court slows it down a bit. But it’s always bounced high. So I think there have been a lot of things that have contributed to me feeling comfortable here.”
Juan Martin Del Potro  def. Philipp Kohlschreiber  3-6 6-3 6-4
Someone else well versed in the art of over-coming heart=breaks has been Juan Martin Del Potro. Always a firm fan favourite, he came from a set down against Philipp Kohlschreiber to book a place once more in the semi-final – he reached the semi-final in 2011, and the final in 2013.
The German was in his first Indian Wells quarter-final and got off to a great start breaking ti build up a 3-1 lead. Although Del potro pegged him back immediately, Kohlschreiber put the pressure on to take the first set.
The second set saw both men a lot more sure of themselves with no break points on show before the Argentinian capitalised on his second chance to take an advantage. he saw one set point come and go, and had to fend off a break point before level the match.
Kohlschreiber had to dig deep saving four break points, only to lose his serve and that advantage was all Del Potro needed to advance.
“It wasn’t an easy match as everybody see. But I was waiting my chance to find the way of the game, and I did after the first set. And then my games improve a little bit, and I find the way of my returns. I play more aggressive with my two-handed backhands, and I play more down the line. I think that was the big key of the — big change of the match.
“[People] know how much effort I did to survive on this sport to make surgeries, for never give up. And I think it’s a good story for the kids to learn about the effort of the life, you know.
“Everybody has to do efforts to get what you want, and I wanted to keep playing tennis. I paid very high price to do it, but I did it and I’m so happy to solve the problem. I’m staying here with this level.”
The men’s semi-finals start at 11am on Saturday (6pm GMT).
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