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Canada’s Milos Raonic upset by Gael Monfils in Rogers Cup quarter-final

Milos Raonic of Canada reacts while playing against Gael Monfils of France during men's quarter-final Rogers Cup tennis action in Toronto on Friday, July 29, 2016. Raonic lost. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO – Canada’s Milos Raonic was upset by France’s Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4 in the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup on Friday.

No. 10 Monfils will play top-seeded Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the tournament at York University’s Aviva Centre on Saturday.

Monfils and Raonic had solid back-and-forths through both sets, with both using big serves to pin each other to the baseline.

Fourth-seeded Raonic tried to be aggressive, charging to the net but Monfils’s slicing volleys painted the line behind Raonic.

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

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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.

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Mental errors dogged Berdych throughout the match, giving up several points on forehands into the net.

Djokovic had dominated their professional series before Friday’s match, winning 24 matches to Berdych’s two.

In the second set, Djokovic seemed to be favouring his right shoulder and his serve lost some of its speed and accuracy.

Despite those struggles, Djokovic fended off Berdych – in part thanks to the ongoing errors of his opponent, including on the match point.

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Fun at the Rogers Cup – Jul 28, 2016

Berdych was scheduled to partner with fellow Czech player Radek Stepanek against Canadians Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil immediately after his singles match with Djokovic.

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

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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. “Yeah, he’s tough player, but I have beaten him before.

“Try to play good tennis like I did in the third set against Dimitrov. I know I have to be a little bit more aggressive to beat him.”

Nishikori said he struggled in the second set against Dimitrov because he eased up a little and stopped dictating the pace of play.

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“I didn’t do it in the second set, and beginning of the third set I didn’t do it,” said Nishikori. “So I tried to take a little bit more risk and tried to be more aggressive and hit and come in sometimes.

“I knew I was struggling with his slice a little bit, so I tried to move my feet and everything worked well after that game.”

Earlier Friday, Wawrinka topped South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 6-1, 6-3 in their quarter-final matchup.

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“It was a really good match, I think. I start really well the first game,” said Wawrinka. “Showed me that I was ready, aggressive, moving really well. It’s one of the best match of the year I played.

“I was calm. Serving really good. Mixing a lot. Especially in moving well, in general. I think I was reading the game well, good in defence, find a way how to come back and attack.”

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