World number three and Olympic Gold Medalist Andy Murray has advanced to the semifinals of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships, after his 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over seventh-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka. Murray improved to an 8-4 record against Wawrinka, in earning his 50th win of 2012 and is on a 10-match winning streak. Murray will meet sixth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic in the semis, a fourth-round re-match from the 2012 U.S. Open. Raonic saved a match point to upset the number three seed, Serbian Janko Tipsarevic 6-7(5), 6-2, 7-6(7).
“I think it will be tough. He’s played well this week. Today was a good win for him,” Murray said. “When you play a guy with a game like has, it’s always going to be tricky. I’ll try to do what I did in New York. I got a lot of returns in play. Once I was in the point, I was able to dictate a lot of them so I’ll try and do the same tomorrow.”
Raonic seeks his third title of 2012, following early season triumphs in Chennai and San Jose.
Also advancing to the semifinals in upset fashion was eighth-seeded Kei Nishikori, who became the first Japanese player to reach the semifinals of the Japan Open, upsetting second-seeded Tomas Berdych 7-5, 6-4. Nishikori improved to 3-1 lifetime against Berdych, advancing in just under two hours.
Nishikori will next face Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, a 6-2, 6-4 winner over qualifier Dmitry Tursunov. Baghdatis capitalised on three of his six break point chances and saved all three break points he faced to beat Tursunov for the second time this season in one hour and 21 minutes. The Cypriot also won their meeting at the Apia International Sydney.
“Dmitry is a tricky player,” said Baghdatis. “He can find a way to come back with his big shots, big serves and big returns. I felt pressure in the whole match. I’m very happy because when there was pressure, I served really well and took my chances at the beginning of the match and the beginning of the second set.”