Raonic advances to World Tour Finals semis with win over Thiem

Milos Raonic became the second man to qualify for the semis at the World Tour Finals when he beat Dominic Thiem 7-6(5), 6-3 in the last Group B round-robin match on Thursday night. Raonic blasted 13 aces and did not face a single break point before getting the job done in one hour and 30 minutes.

In what was basically a quarterfinal showdown with both players needing a win to advance while a loss meant a plane flight out of London, Thiem had few–if any–chances. The Austrian got to deuce on Raonic’s serve only once (at 3-3 in the opening set) and he survived a deuce game on his own serve at 5-6 to force a tiebreaker.
They took turns leading by mini-breaks in the decider. Thiem dropped the first two points only to reel off four in a row, including two in succession on Raonic’s serve at 2-1 and 2-2. Starting at 4-2, however, it went downhill for the world No. 9. Raonic got the mini-break back for 3-4, took care of his next two service points, and seized another critical return point at 5-4 with a perfect approach shot and overhead winner. He eventually wrapped up the set with his 11th ace at 6-5.

It was all but over when Raonic broke serve to begin the second. The world No. 4 seized a 0-40 advantage and capitalized on his second break point on a backhand error by Thiem. For good measure, Raonic broke again to 5-3 to wrap up the win in style.

“I did a lot of things quite well today,” the Canadian commented. “I stepped up when I had an opportunity in the tiebreak. I stepped up at the beginning of the second set and the end of it. There’s a lot definitely to be proud of, playing under that kind of pressure, ’cause I really wanted to get out of the group stages and I wanted to give myself a chance in the semifinals.”

“First of all, I hope that I will be back here in the future,” Thiem noted. “It’s one of the best tournaments. It was an amazing experience. I’m also happy that I won one match and that I still had the chance to go into the semifinals [in] the last match…. Of course I would prefer to win today and to play another match, but now [the offseason] is nice.”