(Reuters) - Frenchman Gael Monfils maintained his run of brilliant form when he nullified Milos Raonic’s big serve to eliminate the local favorite from the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Friday.
Monfils displayed his renowned athleticism in a high-quality quarter-final, relying on his lightning-fast court coverage to manufacture a 6-4 6-4 victory over the losing Wimbledon finalist.
The 10th seed set up a semi-final against top seed Novak Djokovic, who overcame poor serving and 33 unforced errors to beat Czech Tomas Berdych 7-6(6) 6-4 in an error-riddled match.
Second seed Stan Wawrinka and third seed Kei Nishikori will meet in Saturday’s other semi-final.
Five days after ending a drought of more than two years by winning an ATP event in Washington, Monfils took his hot form with him north of the border.
The capacity evening crowd did their best to lift powerful Canadian Raonic, but Monfils, whose attitude has often been questioned, did not buckle against the fourth seed.
Earlier, Djokovic staved off three set points in a first set tiebreak before improving his career record against Berdych to 25-2.
The Serbian admitted he was lucky to advance after saving seven of eight break points.
“Bit fortunate I must say,” he said in an on-court interview. “My serve just wasn’t right today. I just completely lost my rhythm, and he was taking over control of my second serve, attacking it.
“On a quick surface like this you need a good serve. Today it wasn’t to be but I won in straight sets. I must be pleased with the way I hung in there. That’s all.”
In the afternoon session, Swiss Wawrinka advanced with a comprehensive 6-1 6-3 victory over big-serving South African Kevin Anderson.
“I started really well from the first game,” said Wawrinka, a two-times grand slam champion who is seeking his 15th ATP World Tour title. “It showed me that I was ready, aggressive, moving really well.
“It’s one of the best matches of the year I played, I think. I was calm. Serving really good. Mixing a lot. I was reading the game well, good in defense and found a way to come back and attack.”
Next up for Wawrinka is Nishikori, who battled past unseeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 3-6 6-2.
The Japanese player, who reached the final in Miami and the last four in both Madrid and Rome in ATP Masters 1000 events earlier this season, emerged victorious in a see-sawing encounter that lasted a little more than two hours.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina and Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien