Raonic tops Young to reach 1st final of 2014 in DC
WASHINGTON - Powered by serves that reached 143 mph (231 kph), second-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada reached his first final of the season by beating Donald Young of the United States 6-4, 7-5 at the Citi Open on Saturday.
Raonic, of Thornhill, Ont., will face sixth-seeded Richard Gasquet of France or 13th-seeded Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver in Sunday's final at the hard-court tuneup for the U.S. Open.
Against Young, a left-hander from Atlanta ranked 73rd, Raonic served impeccably, hitting 15 aces, winning 34 of 37 first-serve points, and never facing a break point. Raonic broke Young's serve twice — in the last game of each set.
Young, 25, was in the semifinals of an ATP tournament for the first time since 2011. He's still seeking his first tour title.
All five career titles for Raonic have come on hard courts. He was a semifinalist on grass at Wimbledon last month, becoming the first Canadian man to get to the final four at any Grand Slam tournament.
His countryman Pospisil won a rain-interrupted quarterfinal against 10th-seeded Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4 Saturday, then was scheduled to face Gasquet about five hours later.
The match between Pospisil and Giraldo began Friday night but was suspended after the first two points of the third set because of showers.
"The rain delay didn't help me, for sure, because I felt like I was in a really, really good groove and had the momentum. He was down on himself a little bit," Pospisil said. "I felt like I had to go back from square one today, but I took that good confidence that I had at the end of the second set into the third today and was swinging freely."
Pospisil, who teamed with Jack Sock of the United States to win the Wimbledon men's doubles title, beat Gasquet the only other time they played on tour, on a hard court in Shanghai last year.
"I might be feeling the ball a little bit better; maybe my timing will be better. Who knows? Because I have one good set (today). Physically obviously it's a disadvantage, for sure, because it was humid and a physical match," Pospisil said. "You never know how these kind of things play out. It can be good, it can be bad."
Pospisil defeated top-seeded Tomas Berdych in the third round in Washington.
In the women's semifinals, Kurumi Nara of Japan dropped the first eight games before coming back to beat Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 0-6, 6-4, 6-4. The unseeded Nara reached the second WTA singles final of her career; she also got to the doubles final in Washington.
Trailing by such a large margin early, Nara said she "was panicking" but then "tried to ... relax."
On Sunday, Nara will face No. 2-seeded Ekaterina Makarova or No. 6 Svetlana Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam title winner. Their semifinal was scheduled for Saturday night.