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Milos Raonic knocked out of Rogers Cup by Gael Monfils


Only one word could come to Milos Raonic’s lips — disappointment.

The fourth seed at the Rogers Cup shook his head and used the word repeatedly when answering questions after a 6-4, 6-4, upset at the hands of France’s Gael Monfils on Friday in the tournament’s quarter-finals.

“Disappointment is the right word,” said Raonic after the loss. “In tennis, unless you’re the guy winning the tournaments most of the weeks, which there’s very few guys that are doing that, you’re losing quite a bit.

“So it’s very important to make the most of those, try to learn, try to be better from those situations. That’s my next objective.”

Monfils, the tournament’s 10th seed, will play world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals on Saturday on the centre court of York University’s Aviva Centre.

Raonic had the sold-out crowd’s full support throughout the match, with the chair umpire repeatedly having to ask the fans to quiet down. Even still, fans would call out “Let’s go Milos!” or chant MI-LOS RAO-NIC clap, clap, clap-clap-clap after every game and most points.

Loud crowd powers Monfils

The boisterous crowd helped Monfils as well, though. He said before the match that he always loves a packed stadium, even if the fans aren’t supporting him.

“I play Davis Cup outside [of France],” said Monfils, referring to the team event between different nations. “It’s the same feeling, you know, either way. I think I’m a guy always pumped up. Any energy, I take it. Even if it’s for me or not for me, I take it.”

Raonic is the first Canadian man to make the finals of a Grand Slam tournament after losing to Andy Murray at Wimbledon earlier this summer. Still, no Canadian male has won the Rogers Cup — previously the Canadian Open — since Robert Bedard did in 1958.

He started strong, winning the first game of the match quickly, with Monfils only scoring a point when Raonic double faulted on serves. But Monfils won the next game and it seemed as though the two would trade games based on who had serve.

Unfortunately, for the home-court favourite, he had trouble being consistent with his best weapon.

“There’s definitely disappointment in the way I lost my serve,” said Raonic. “Out of the eight points I lost in those two service games, I think five of them were my own forehand mistakes, quite poor mistakes, I’d say.”

The crowd hung on every play, groaning loudly when Raonic’s challenge was shown to be out on the video boards to give Monfils a 4-3 lead. The Frenchman continued to be patient, drawing Raonic into rallies and then using his superior returns to put him away.

“I was trying to get the fans involved,” said Raonic. “If I could have maybe been a bit more efficient, converted a few opportunities, I could have done a better job with that.

“But I have to say I’m grateful for the kind of reception I got throughout this entire week so far, three matches on court. Off the court, as well, it’s been phenomenal. It’s a great honor to play in front of that kind of appreciation and respect from the Canadians.”

Monfils was particularly successful drawing Raonic to the net then using a slicing backhand to put the ball behind him.

“I changed my game plan a little bit,” said Monfils, who had lost to Raonic in two other quarter-finals this season. “I’ve been more solid today than the previous matches played against him.

“I think I pick up a little bit more first serve, be able to play better from the baseline myself.”

Earlier Friday, Djokovic fended off Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 7-6 (6), 6-4 for his spot in the semifinals.

Berdych showed impressive grit against the world No. 1 in the first set, coming back from a 5-2 deficit to tie it 5-5. Mental errors dogged Berdych throughout the match, however, giving up several points on forehands into the net.

Djokovic-Novak-29072016

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic defeated Tomas Berdych in straight sets to advance to the semifinal of the Rogers Cup, in Toronto on Friday. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Also, Japan’s Kei Nishikori beat Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 to advance to the semifinals.

Nishikori has now reached four ATP Masters 1000 semifinals this year, having made the final four in Miami, Madrid and Barcelona. The third-seeded Nishikori will face No. 2 Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland on Saturday.

“Stan, you know, has a great serve, great backhand,” said Nishikori, who has lost three of his four previous matches against Wawrinka on the ATP Tour. “He’s tough player, but I have beaten him before.”

Wawrinka topped South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 6-1, 6-3 in their quarter-final matchup to set up his semi with Nishikori.

The Canadian team of Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil — who will be partners at the upcoming Rio Olympics — beat Radek Stepanek and Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-6 (6), in the tournament’s doubles quarter-finals.

CBC | Sports News

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