INDIAN WELLS

Raonic into Indian Wells final

Canadian Milos Raonic stormed into his first ATP Indian Wells Masters final on Saturday, overpowering Belgian David Goffin 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Raonic into Indian Wells final
Harry How AFP

Raonic, the world number 14 who is going through a makeover under the tutelage of new coach Carlos Moya, blasted 10 aces in the two-hour match to help counter 35 unforced errors.

"I lost my way a little in the second set, but in the third I stuck to my identity," Raonic said.

The 25-year-old Raonic, who reached his 17th career ATP final, next faces the winner of a classic later semi-final between nine-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal and world number one Novak Djokovic.

Raonic roared through the first set in 34 minutes but struggled in the second with his serve as he tried to increase speed without sacrificing other components of his game.

"I feel even when I am not playing my best I am able to find the answers," said Raonic. "I am definitely able to play at a higher level this year and when a crisis occurs during a match I can find the solutions better."

Raonic, known for dominating opponents with his booming serve, has added more variety to his serve and backhand shots as he put 18th-ranked Goffin away with early breaks in the first and third sets.

He credits former world number one Moya with helping him add new shots to his game and those changes are holding up even after a six-week layoff due to a torn thigh muscle.

The injury flared up in his five-set semi-final loss to Andy Murray at the Australian Open and Raonic was unable to play in the Davis Cup earlier this month when Canada lost 5-0 to France.

Raonic reached his first final since winning at Brisbane in January. He improved to 14-1 on the season.

The Canadian blasted 39 winners to 22 for Goffin and won 81 percent of his first serve points. He clocked one serve in the opening set at 146 mph (234 Km/h), the fastest of the tournament.

Raonic avenged a three-set loss to Goffin in the quarter-finals at Basel in 2014, the only other time the two have met.

Goffin became the first player in the tournament to take a set off Raonic when he won the second.

The Belgian was battle-tested, having saved two match points in his opening contest to defeat wildcard Frances Tiafoe.

Goffin's biggest victory of the tournament was a fourth-round upset of reigning French Open champion Stan Wawrinka.