Tennis

Raonic, Pospisil make history; to meet in Washington final

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The Canadian Press
8/2/2014 9:49:34 PM
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WASHINGTON -- Milos Raonic will face Vasek Pospisil in Washington on Sunday in the first all-Canadian final matchup in ATP history. Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., downed American Donald Young in one semifinal on Saturday while Vancouver's Pospisil ousted Richard Gasquet of France in the other.

Facing Milos Raonic for the first time, Young was wowed by the Canadian's big serve.

"It's like Monopoly," Young said. "He has a bunch of 'Get out of jail free' cards."

Powered by serves that reached 231 km/h and resulted in 15 aces, the second-seeded Raonic reached his first final of the season by beating Young 6-4, 7-5 at the Citi Open on Saturday.

Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., will face sixth-seeded Richard Gasquet of France or 13th-seeded Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver in Sunday's final at the hard-court tune-up for the U.S. Open.

"I did the most important thing: I took care of my serve," Raonic said.

That's for sure. Against Young, a left-handed American ranked 73rd, Raonic served impeccably, winning 34 of 37 first-serve points and never facing a break point.

"It's one thing to look at him, but it's another to be on the other side, receiving those things," said Young's mother and coach, Illona.

Explained Young, a 25-year-old from Atlanta: "Against a player like that, with a serve like that, it's only going to be small windows. And you have to be there to take advantage and be 'Johnny on the spot' -- and I wasn't able to do that today."

Raonic broke Young in the last game of each set.

"I'm extremely satisfied to see him playing so well on the big points so early in the hard-court season," said Raonic's coach, Ivan Ljubicic.

Still seeking his first tour title, Young was in the semifinals of an ATP tournament for the first time since 2011.

All five career titles for Raonic have come on hard courts. He was a semifinalist on grass at Wimbledon last month, becoming the first Canadian man to get to the final four at any Grand Slam tournament.

His countryman Pospisil won a rain-interrupted quarter-final against 10th-seeded Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4 Saturday, then ousted Gasquet in three sets.

The match between Pospisil and Giraldo began Friday night but was suspended after the first two points of the third set because of showers.

"The rain delay didn't help me, for sure, because I felt like I was in a really, really good groove and had the momentum. He was down on himself a little bit," Pospisil said. "I felt like I had to go back from square one today, but I took that good confidence that I had at the end of the second set into the third today and was swinging freely."

Pospisil, who teamed with Jack Sock to win the Wimbledon men's doubles title, beat Gasquet the only other time they played on tour, on a hard court in Shanghai last year.

In the women's semifinals, Kurumi Nara of Japan dropped the first eight games before coming back to beat Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 0-6, 6-4, 6-4. The unseeded Nara reached the second WTA singles final of her career.

Trailing by such a large margin early, Nara said she "was panicking" but then "tried to ... relax."

On Sunday, Nara will face No. 2-seeded Ekaterina Makarova or No. 6 Svetlana Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam title winner.

Vasek Pospisil (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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