Milos Raonic was at his efficient best on Thursday afternoon, beating Serbian lucky loser Miomir Kecmanovic 6-3, 6-4 to reach his fourth BNP Paribas Open semi-final in Indian Wells.
The Canadian, who made the 2016 final (l. to Djokovic), didn't have his best serving day – making only 55 per cent of his first serves – but he made the ones he landed count, winning almost 90 per cent (30/34) of his rocket first offerings.
“In a few key moments my serve really helped me out,” Raonic said on court. “I just tried to play consistent, be aggressive when I had the first chance.”
Kecmanovic held his own for much of the his first tour-level quarter-final, stretching Raonic to the corners to start the point and opening up the court.
But the 19-year-old Serbian, who had one tour-level win before Indian Wells, couldn't convert any of his three break points, including two at 3-4 in the second set.
Raonic will meet Gael Monfils or Dominic Thiem for a place in the ATP Masters 1000 final. The 6'5” Canadian has reached three Masters 1000 finals – 2013 Canada, 2014 Paris, 2016 Indian Wells – but hasn't won a tour-level title in more than three years (January 2016, Brisbane).
His power has lifted him this week, but Raonic mixed in his backhand slice particularly well against Kecmanovic, keeping the first-time quarter-finalist off balance.