Raonic, Pospisil book first all-Canada ATP final
Milos Raonic, coming off his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon, and double-duty winner Vasek Pospisil will meet Sunday in the ATP's first-ever all-Canadian final at the Washington Open.
Seventh-ranked Raonic, seeking his sixth career title and first since last year at Bangkok, fired 15 aces Saturday in downing US left-hander Donald Young 6-4, 7-5 to reach his 11th ATP final, his first since falling to Juan Martin Del Potro last September at Tokyo.
"I have a much better understanding of what I need to bring out myself," Raonic said. "Mentally I know what I need to do to compete better in the important stages of matches."
Pospisil, who ousted Czech Tomas Berdych in the third round, rallied to dispatch French sixth seed Richard Gasquet 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-5 for his first win in five ATP semi-final appearances -- and his second victory of the day.
Only five hours earlier, Pospisil finished the last set of a 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-4 quarter-final win over Colombian Santiago Giraldo that was halted Friday by rain.
"I was a little tired at the end," said Pospisil. "I came up with some good shots. I didn't give up when I was down and tired and I came back."
In the companion WTA event, Japan's Kurumi Nara outlasted New Zealand's Marina Erakovic 0-6, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the final against two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who ousted fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-2.
Pospisil, who won a Wimbledon doubles crown alongside American Jack Sock, lost his only ATP match against Raonic in a Montreal semi-final last year.
"He's the favorite by a long shot the way he's serving this week and playing this year," Pospisil said. "I'm happy to be in my first final.
"It's a little more special playing a fellow Davis Cup member and it's great for tennis in Canada."
- Pospisil looking 'perky' -
Pospisil, 24, and Raonic, 23, have been rivals for more than a decade.
"It's a good relationship. We get along," Raonic said. "We've gotten along since we were 12.
"He's a little more perky and happy and excited so that's good to see. He has played really well this week."
Raonic, who won 33-of-36 first-serve points and never faced a break point against Young, broke in the last game of each set to win in 75 minutes.
"I just put the pressure on his final service games of each set and it worked out," Raonic said.
Young made his deepest ATP run since reaching the 2011 Bangkok final, where he lost to Britain's Andy Murray.
Pospisil never led in the tie-breaker but broke for a 2-0 lead on the way to forcing a third set.
"I was feeling heavy legs," Pospisil said. "I wasn't feeling sharp. But I didn't want to go down without a big fight."
Gasquet broke for a 2-0 edge but Pospisil broke in the fifth and 11th games, then held at love to win after two hours, 28 minutes when Gasquet hit a forehand long.
"I'm really disappointed," Gasquet said. "It's very difficult to lose 7-5 in the third. I thought I had a really good chance to win."
Gasquet will meet Pospisil again in next week's first round at Toronto.
Nara, who won her first career WTA title earlier this year at Rio de Janeiro, dropped the first eight games of the match but battled back to reach her second career final.
"I was panicking first set but I tried to calm down and relax and move quicker and it helped me," Nara said.