Raonic beats Nishikori to reach Brisbane final

Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:17am EST
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By Julian Linden

BRISBANE (Reuters) - Milos Raonic unleashed a bombardment of aces on Kei Nishikori on Saturday to reach the final of the Brisbane International, showing why he is lurking as a real contender for this month's Australian Open.

The big-serving Canadian blasted 34 aces past his bewildered Japanese opponent, including one that was timed at 231km/h (143.6 mph), to come from behind and win their semi-final 6-7(4) 7-6(4) 7-6(4).

"We spent a lot of time of practising, there's a lot of cold days in Canada," Raonic told a courtside interviewer when asked the secret to his success.

Raonic will face Roger Federer in Sunday's final of the Australian Open warm-up tournament at the Pat Rafter Arena after the Swiss maestro beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 6-2 in the second semi.

Ranked eighth in the world, Raonic is emerging as one of the favourites to win the first grand slam of 2015 after he announced his arrival by reaching the semi-finals of Wimbledon last year.

And the 24-year-old has started the new season where he left off, reaching his 14th career ATP final and avenging his loss to Nishikori in last year's Japan Open final.

Raonic brought his heavy artillery to the Pat Rafter Arena, holding each of his 18 service games and committing just three double faults in the two-and-a-half hour clash.

"I felt I served really well. That's held me around, especially in the beginning, because I felt he was getting more and more on top of me at the beginning from the baseline," Raonic said.   Continued...

Kei Nishikori of Japan watches a return to Milos Raonic of Canada during their men's singles semi final match at the Brisbane International tennis tournament, January 10, 2015.    REUTERS/Jason Reed