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Wawrinka Fights Back For QF Spot; Raonic Prevails

Cincinnati, U.S.A.

Raonic© Getty ImagesMilos Raonic prevails in a third set tie-break.

After dropping the first set, Stan Wawrinka came firing back to defeat Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-0, 6-1 in the third round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati Thursday. The Swiss dropped just three service points in an emphatic second set and closed out victory in 83 minutes.

"He was playing really well at the beginning," said Wawrinka. "I tried to focus on my serve and tried to be a little bit more aggressive. I was moving better and made him move a lot. He was struggling a little bit with his arm and couldn't serve full speed. I was more relaxed with myself and moving better [in the second set]. When I am moving right, I give myself more time to play and then I can control the game. I had a great time out there today."

The 29-year-old Wawrinka is looking to bounce back from a third-round loss at last week’s Rogers Cup in Toronto (l. to Anderson). The right-hander won his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown earlier in the season on clay in Monte-Carlo (d. Federer).

Wawrinka goes on to face Julien Benneteau after the Frenchman dismissed Jerzy Janowicz 7-5, 6-1 in 74 minutes. The 32-year-old Benneteau is through to his second Masters 1000 quarter-final of the season (Indian Wells) and takes a 2-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head lead into the clash with Wawrinka.

Canadian fifth seed Milos Raonic survived nervous moments late in the match before defeating American wild card Steve Johnson in a third-set tie-break. Serving for the match at 5-4, Raonic hit three double faults to offer up his only break points of the match. Johnson converted and soon forced a tie-break, in which he held a mini-break at 4-3. But he dropped both points on his serve and Raonic closed out the match two points later.

“I think it was one of my better, for lack of a better word, complications,” said Raonic. “I really didn’t escape from too much. He was getting ahead a few times, but never sort of clearing the distance. It was me sort of complicating it with the game serving when I had match point in the game before.” 

LuRaonic, who also reached the quarter-finals last week on home soil in Toronto, next meets Italian Fabio Fognini, a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 winner over Chinese Taipei's Yen-Hsun Lu.

The 31-year-old Lu, who had upset fourth seed Tomas Berdych on Wednesday, received a birthday cake from Western & Southern Open tournament officials following the match.

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