After an early exit in New York, Milos Raonic is back on the winning way in Delray Beach, beating Steve Johnson 7-6, 6-3 in an hour and 38 minutes for the first ATP semi-final since Stuttgart last year. The Canadian lost 17 points in ten service games, suffering a break in the first game and bouncing back to grab the opener in the tie break, seizing three out of 11 chances on the return to move over the top in straight sets.
The American broke at 15 in the first game to forge an early advantage, fending off six break chances before Milos finally broke back in game six to level the score at 3-3. Six commanding holds after that, they were in the tie break where Raonic wasted a set point at 6-5, converting the second one with a return winner two points later to seal the opener and gain a boost ahead of set number two.
There, he forced an error from Steve to clinch a break in the first game, earning another one at 5-3 to book his place in the semi-final. Reilly Opelka failed to defend the title in New York and will try to add the second one here in Delray Beach, beating Soonwoo Kwon 6-3, 6-4 in 66 minutes for the first semi-final since Basel last year.
Reilly fired 16 aces and never faced a break point, stealing the rival's serve once in each set to seal the deal in straight sets. The American broke at love in the sixth game of the opener with a backhand crosscourt winner, finishing the set with three winners in game nine for a 6-3.
Returners barely grabbed any point in the opening eight games of the second set before Opelka claimed 12 of the last 15 points to seal the deal in style, breaking Kwon at love at 4-4 and closing the encounter with a service winner in the next game to set Raonic clash.
The 6th seed Ugo Humbert toppled Frances Tiafoe 6-1, 6-2 in an hour and 11 minutes, fending off both break chances and stealing more than a half of the return points for four breaks from ten opportunities, securing two return games in each set and crossing the finish line with a service winner at 5-2 in set number two to advance into the last four.
In the most extended match of the day, Yoshihito Nishioka ousted Brandon Nakashima 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 in two hours and 25 minutes, prevailing in set number two and racing into a 5-1 lead in the decider before celebrating a win in game ten.