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Murray Defeats Wawrinka In QFs; Raonic Saves 1 M.P.

Tokyo, Japan

Raonic© Getty ImagesMilos Raonic defeated Janko Tipsarevic for the second time this season.

World No. 3 Andy Murray returned to the semi-finals of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships on Friday, as the reigning Tokyo champion defeated seventh-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.

Murray converted four of his 11 break points and won 80 per cent of his first serve points to clinch the win in two hours and one minute. He improved to an 8-4 record against Wawrinka, sealing his 50th victory on the year. He has won 10 straight matches.

The top-seeded Scot is through to his eighth semi-final of the season, highlighted by his first major trophy at the US Open, gold medal performance at the London 2012 Olympics and season-opening title win in Brisbane. Murray is aiming to successfully defend a crown for the first time in 2012.

In the semi-finals, Murray will square off against sixth seed Milos Raonic in a fourth-round re-match from Flushing Meadows.

“I think it will be tough. He’s played well this week. Today was a good win for him,” Murray said. “When you play a guy with a game like has, it’s always going to be tricky. I’ll try to do what I did in New York. I got a lot of returns in play. Once I was in the point, I was able to dictate a lot of them so I’ll try and do the same tomorrow.”

Raonic saved a match point to edge No. 3 seed Janko Tipsarevic 6-7(5), 6-2, 7-6(7).

“I didn’t necessarily serve my best, but I was playing really well from the baseline,” said Raonic. “I’m happy to get through it. I did quite a few things well. I’m happy I played well on the big points.”

In a match similar to their first head-to-head meeting earlier this season in the Chennai final, which Raonic also won in a final-set tie-break, it once again came down to a battle of serves. In the deciding tie-break, Tipsarevic held match point up 6-5 with Raonic serving, but the Canadian wiped it away with a big serve out wide that set up a forehand winner. After missing his first match point at 7-6, Raonic put the clash on his racquet with a backhand-down-the-line winner to move ahead 8-7 and he subsequently cracked his 24th ace to close out victory in two hours and 44 minutes.

Raonic is bidding for his third trophy this year, following early season triumphs in Chennai and San Jose (d. Istomin). He is placed 14th in the South African Airways ATP Rankings Race To London, but can move up the leader board should he go on to win the title. The Top 8 players qualify for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Tipsarevic is just outside the cutline in ninth position.

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