26
Feb
12

Raonic fires his way into today’s Memphis final.

Milos Raonic serves to Benjamin Becker in their semifinal match at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships tennis tournament in Memphis on Saturday.

Milos Raonic needed only 75 minutes to beat Benjamin Becker of Germany 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday in the semifinals of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships and reach his second final in as many weeks. The hard-serving player from Thornhill, Ont., won at San Jose last week and is 15-1 in match play this year. Ranked 35th in the world, the ATP World Tour’s first multiple winner this season will try to win his third title Sunday against Austrian Jurgen Melzer, a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 winner over No. 3 seed Radek Stepanek. “It’s a big thing, especially after the way I’ve been playing,” said Raonic, who lost a three-set final here last year to American Andy Roddick. “I think I’m a much better player, and I’ve matured a lot so I’ve given myself the opportunity a lot better. “I felt last year I was more so squeezing through the matches and just riding the confidence from San Jose. . . . This year I feel like I’ve been coming out of the matches the better player. And also I have improved. I’m a better player than I was a year ago.”

Raonic has won nine straight matches in straight sets with 66 aces here in Memphis. He has held serve in 40 of his 41 games at the event and was so dominant and efficient that Becker scored only five points off Raonic’s serve in each set. Raonic won 29 of his 31 points off his first serve. Becker, playing in his first semifinal since Bangkok in October 2010, had not dropped a set here after being sidelined for six months last year because of an injured left elbow. He felt Raonic’s strength in the eighth game of the second set when the Canadian held serve with a 224 kilometre-an-hour ace that hit Becker in the back. “It just happens when you move toward the T,” Becker said. “He serves so fast it’s tough to react.”

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