del Potro strolls into final

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Juan Martin del Potro ensured his spot in the championship match of the BNP Paribas Open with a thumping 6-2 6-3 success over Milos Raonic

The Argentine was in excellent form as he raced past the out-of-sorts Canadian in just 66 minutes to rack up a 10th consecutive victory.

The 29-year-old has finished as runner-up to Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in his three previous Masters finals - and Roger Federer will be across the net on Sunday.

Del Potro has not been the beneficiary of favourable draws in second tier events throughout his injury-hit career, however he will take encouragement from the world No.1’s untidy display against Borna Coric in the first semi-final.

The Argentine has won just six of his 24 previous meetings with the Swiss, but their latest encounter should be a tight affair between two on-song competitors.

Raonic, in his first Masters semi-final in 18 months, started poorly and never quite adapted to the blustery conditions. His willingness to continually advance into the forecourt was admirable, but his volleying skills were lacking.

Del Potro bagged a break in the third game of the contest to seize the initiative. A trademark forehand did the damage, and he was untroubled from that moment on.

Raonic was broken for a second time in the fifth game, and he looked devoid of ideas as he trudged to his chair after losing a brisk opener by six games to two.

The Canadian was marginally better in the second set, but he was still unable to provide his opponent with a meaningful challenge. An untimely double-fault saw the former finalist fall 2-1 behind, and his misery was almost over.

Raonic, who did not create a single break-point, picked up just one game as his ruthless opponent applied the finishing touches.

Posted by: Graham Semple

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