Federer to face Raonic in Brisbane final

Top seed Roger Federer will face Milos Raonic in the final of the Brisbane International after dismissing Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday.

World No. 2 Federer is looking to become just the third player in the Open Era to claim his 1000th tour-level match win, joining Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl.

The Swiss takes a 7-1 ATP Head to Head lead into the final against Raonic, though Raonic recorded his first win over the 33 year old last November at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris. When they met two weeks later at the ATP World Tour Finals, Federer prevailed in straight sets.

Federer finished runner-up to Lleyton Hewitt on his debut in Brisbane last year and is looking to win his 83rd tour-level title in his 125th final.

After the first semi-final saw Raonic edge Kei Nishikori in two hours and 33 minutes, Federer required just 53 minutes to beat the fourth-seeded Dimitrov. The Basel native won 75 per cent of his service points, only coming under threat in the final game as he served for the match. He broke Dimitrov four times as he moved to a 3-0 mark in their ATP Head to Head.

"I was able to play straightforward tennis, like yesterday, just really aggressive," said Federer. "Against a really good player, it's a great result. Happy I didn't waste much energy like this. I'm fresh for the finals. Probably got a slight advantage over Milos in that regard."

"His game is based more on the serve, but he's making improvements from the baseline and taking bigger cuts at the ball now," Federer said of Raonic.

"He's not just waiting for mistakes from the opponents, like he did at the beginning of his career more often."

Federer led the ATP World Tour in 2014 with 73 match wins, capturing five ATP World Tour titles.
The 23-year-old Dimitrov dropped to an 8-34 mark against Top 10 opponents. The right-hander finished 2014 at a year-end high of No. 11 in the ATP Rankings and with a personal best 50 match wins.

Raonic conceded he would have to be on top of his service game once again if he is to beat Federer.

"I've got to serve well, that's always been a key," he said.

"The last few matches I started poorly against him. I would get broken right in my first service game, which is not the way to really go about things, especially against a top player and especially against Roger."

Date: 10th January 2015, Source: ATP and AFP


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