Tokyo: Milos Raonic of Canada ousted top-seeded Andy Murray to move into the final of the Japan Open, edging the defending champion 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4) on Saturday. Raonic, seeded 6th and ranked 15th, will meet the winner of the second semi-final later on Saturday between local hope Kei Nishikori and unseeded Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus.
Playing under a blazing sun at Ariake Colosseum, the big-hitting Raonic broke Murray in the opening game of the match, then used his strong serve and powerful forehand to go up 5-3, before breaking again to claim the set 6-3.
The Olympic champion looked sluggish from the outset and had to save two break points to hold serve for 1-1 in the second set. After Raonic held to go up 3-2, a frustrated Murray broke his racquet by smashing it on the court.
There were no breaks of serve in the second set, and the contest proceeded to a tie-break, where Raonic misplayed a volley to give Murray a 6-5 lead and then couldn't handle a Murray forehand that gave him the tie-break 7-5, squaring the contest.
Murray turned the tide in his favour in the third set by breaking Raonic with a sublime backhand down the line to move ahead 3-1. Murray made it 4-1 on serve and looked to be in control, only to see Raonic break back for 4-3 and then hold for 4-4.
Murray held to go up 5-4 and then had two match points on Raonic's served in the 10th game, but could not capitalise as the Canadian held to send it to another tie-break. Raonic took control in the tiebreak and finished it 7-5.
Murray and Raonic had split their two previous career meetings, both this year. Raonic beat Murray on clay at the Barcelona Open, while Murray knocked Raonic out of the US Open in the fourth round.
Raonic has won two tournaments this year, triumphing in Chennai, India and San Jose, California.
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