INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Canadian Milos Raonic is off to the final at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament.
Raonic, of Thornhill, Ont., fired 10 aces in defeating Belgian David Goffin 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in semifinal action Saturday. Raonic improved to a career-best 14-1 this year.
"I feel like I did the things right," Raonic said. "I lost my way a little bit in the second set.
"It’s important to me to be able to recognize that and get the things back on the right track and play and finish off with some good tennis like I did."
Raonic will play top-ranked Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final.
Djokovic continued his recent mastery of Rafael Nadal on hard courts, winning 7-6 (5), 6-3 on his sixth match point later Saturday to reach the BNP Paribas Open final for the second straight year.
Djokovic, who will try for his record fifth title in the California desert on Sunday, extended his advantage over Nadal on hard courts to 18-7. He’s won the last seven times since the Spaniard beat him in the 2013 U.S. Open final.
Nadal, a three-time winner at Indian Wells, came up short in making his 100th career singles final with his second loss to Djokovic this year. Djokovic won in the final at Doha in January. Nadal hasn’t won a title on hard courts since 2014 in Doha.
"Against Novak it’s a difficult matchup," Raonic said. "I’ve added good things to my tennis that can help me in that aspect, it’s going to be important to control the centre of the court."
The six-foot-five Raonic overpowered his smaller opponent, connecting on 63 per cent of his first serves in the two-hour match. The Canadian averaged 131 miles an hour (210 kilometres per hour) on his first serve and 112 miles an hour (180 kilometres) on his second.
Goffin averaged 110 miles an hour (177 kilometres) on his first serve in the match but Raonic wasn’t entirely happy with his play when on his second serve.
"I only won one point on my second serve," he said. "I just lost the aggression that I had and I didn’t mix up enough the first serve like I was earlier on. "
Goffin, who was six inches shorter (15 centimetres) shorter than his Canadian opponent, had won three straight three-set matches coming into the semifinals.
"I have a big challenge ahead of me, but I have been pretty good this year at finding solutions," Raonic said looking ahead to Sunday’s final.