INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Canadian Milos Raonic missed his chance at his first semifinal showing since last October as the 10th seed lost to Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 6-4 Thursday at the BNP Paribas Open.
Raonic suffered a major letdown 24 hours after knocking out world No. 6 Andy Murray, managing only four aces and getting just one unsuccessful break chance on his Ukrainian opponent's serve.
Raonic last played in the semis six months ago in Tokyo after winning the Bangkok title.
Given the political situation in his troubled homeland, Dolgopolov appeared as the obvious Californian crowd favourite, with a Ukrainian flag hanging in the stands over the empty seats of tournament owner and software billionaire Larry Ellison.
Raonic's loss also prevented the 23-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., from returning to a top 10 ranking on the ATP Tour. He will move on now to next week's start of the Miami Masters, where he had to withdraw in 2013 before his third-round match due to illness.
Raonic was broken in the second game by Dolgopolov, who set the tone for the afternoon at the Tennis Garden. The son of a tennis coach claimed the opening set in just 29 minutes.
The momentum looked to be turning early in the second set, when Raonic broke for 2-0 before going up three games. But the determined Dolgopolov came back and won a marathon eight-minute fifth game to break Raonic.
Raonic saved four break points in the game but double-faulted on a valuable game point before Dolgopolov's down-the-line winner cur Raonic's set lead to 3-2.
Dolgopolov built from that point, breaking for 4-3 and closing out the win on his first match point.