Monte Carlo, Monaco – Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka reached the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Friday with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory over Canadian Milos Raonic.
Wawrinka, who had a walkover in the previous round when Spain's Nicolas Almagro pulled out with a foot injury, will wait for a weekend opponent as eight-time champion Rafael Nadal faces compatriot and good friend David Ferrer, seeded sixth.
Wawrinka, who has dragged himself out of a short slump he suffered after beating Nadal for the grand slam title in Melbourne three months ago, took control as eighth seed Raonic twice lost leads in the opening set tie-breaker.
The mistakes gave an opening to Wawrinka, who took the first set on his initial opportunity and then broke to start the second as the frustrated Raonic let go of a 40-15 lead in the first game.
From that point on, momentum totally shifted to the Swiss world number three, who broke the Canadian again for 5-2 before serving out for the match in 90 minutes.
Wawrinka finished with 30 winners and 28 unforced errors and never faced a break point. The Swiss was playing his third consecutive quarter-final at the event which marks the start of the European clay season and the run-up to Roland Garros which begins on May 25.
He now stands 3-0 over Raonic, who was playing his first clay court quarter-final at the Masters 1000 level.
Wawrinak duplicated his 2009 result by reaching the semi-finals and improving his season record to 18-3. – Sapa-AFP