Tokyo – Last year's finalist Milos Raonic roared into the semi-finals of the Japan Open with a crushing 6-3, 6-3 victory over Slovakia's Lukas Lacko on Friday.
The third seed, runner-up to local hero Kei Nishikori at the $1.43 million event last year, took just 62 minutes to end the fine run of Lacko in Tokyo.
Canadian Raonic, enjoying a purple patch of form after winning his fifth career title in Bangkok last weekend, blasted 11 aces and many more which put Lacko in harm's way, threatening to hit the fur off the ball at times with his bullet serve.
The world number 11 will play Ivan Dodig in the last four after the Croatian beat Finland's Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 7-6 in chilly conditions in the first quarter-final.
“I've dealt well with the different conditions,” Raonic told AFP. “Confidence is a big part of that. I've had hot and humid indoors, hot with the roof open and now cold.
“The court was a big quicker today which gave me more free points on my serve and helped pay quicker dividends.”
Top seed Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion and Tokyo finalist in 2008, plays Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov while fourth seed Nishikori, who became the host country's first Japan Open winner last year, faces Spain's Nicolas Almagro in the later quarter-finals. – Sapa-AFP