Canada's Raonic advances to quarters at SAP Open
Canadian Milos Raonic advanced to the quarter-final of the SAP Open with a 6-2, 7-6(4) second-round win over American James Blake on Wednesday.
It's the second ATP quarter-final appearance of the 20 year old's career.
The hard-serving resident of Thornhill, Ont., fired 13 aces past Blake, who formerly held down fifth spot on the ATP rankings. In two matches Raonic has served 33 aces and faced only a handful of break points.
"I'm playing well; I'm playing confidently," Raonic said. "Everything is coming together. I believe a lot in myself, my team, and the work I've done."
Raonic advanced to the second round with a straight-sets win over world No. 45 Xavier Malisse. It was the fourth time this season Raonic has defeated an opponent ranked in the top 50.
It's been a breakout season so far for Raonic. He reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and saw his ATP ranking jump to No. 84.
Raonic will take on Richard Berankis of Lithuania in Friday's quarter-final.
The 74th-ranked Berankis beat American Donald Young 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 in the second round.
In first-round matches, top-seeded Fernando Verdasco of Spain needed only an hour to beat American Rajeev Ram 6-3, 6-2.
The defending champion in the event, Verdasco recorded eight aces and won 88 per cent of his first service points.
Verdasco meets Croatia's Ivo Karlovic in the second round. Karlovic topped American Ryan Sweeting 6-4, 6-4.
"He is one of the most difficult players to play against," Verdasco said. "Maybe he won't serve so well and I'll win the match but I can't count on that."
American Robert Kendrick downed Russian Igor Kunitsyn 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 and will meet No. 2 seed Gael Monfils, who beat wild card Bradley Klahn, 6-3, 6-2.
Klahn, a junior at nearby Stanford University and the school's No. 1 singles player and defending NCAA singles champion, is ranked 792nd in the ATP while Monfils, who beat Pete Sampras in an exhibition match Monday night, is ranked 12th.