Roger Federer has been flying high for the last two months but the 33-year-old Swiss was brought down to earth here tonight by the ‘Maple Leaf Missile’. Canada’s Milos Raonic, who earned his nickname thanks to his huge serve, was at his big-hitting best as he pummelled 22 aces to beat Federer 7-6, 7-5 in their Paris Masters quarter-final.
Federer, who had won 14 matches in a row since the US Open to put himself within reach of Novak Djokovic at the top of the world rankings, created only one break point in the whole match, when Raonic served at 5-4 down in the second set. Raonic saved it with an ace, appropriately enough, and then broke Federer in the next game before serving out for victory.
The world No 10 had gone into the match knowing he might have to win the title here to claim one of the remaining places in the eight-man field at the ATP World Tour Finals, which begin in London in eight days’ time. He had not been in his best form recently, having won only two matches in his previous three tournaments, but when he serves like this the 6ft 5in Canadian can be all but unstoppable.
Raonic, who had lost all six of his previous meetings with Federer, served with power and precision, but there was plenty else to admire in his game too. Federer, who had not lost an indoor match for nearly a year, saved the only break point of the first set, but Raonic dominated the tie-break, winning it 7-5, and maintained his focus in the second set.
Federer, who could still overtake Djokovic at the top of the rankings before the end of the year, said afterwards that it had been “a classic indoor match”, decided by a handful of points. He said the defeat would at least give him a chance to take a short break before returning to the practice court ahead of the World Tour Finals and the following week’s Davis Cup final, in which France will entertain Switzerland.
In Saturday’s semi-finals Raonic will meet Tomas Berdych, who beat Kevin Anderson 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 to secure his place in the World Tour Finals for the fifth year in a row. The other semi-final will bring together the two winners from Friday night’s remaining quarter-finals, in which Djokovic was facing Andy Murray while Kei Nishikori was taking on David Ferrer.Reuse content