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By Chris Oddo | Friday May 19, 2017

Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev reached his first Masters 1000 semifinal with a straight-sets victory over Milos Raonic.

Photo Source: Gareth Copley/Getty

Alexander Zverev took another step in his progression as a big-match player on Friday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The 20-year-old German swept past No.5-seeded Milos Raonic 7-6(4), 6-1 to set up a semifinal with American John Isner.

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Zverev becomes the youngest player to reach the last four at the Foro Italico since Rafael Nadal in 2006; Isner became the first American to progress past the quarterfinals in Rome since Andy Roddick in 2008.

Zverev twice led by a break in the opener, but was taken to a tiebreaker by Raonic. But Zverev stood tall in the breaker and took over in the second set, dropping just three points on serve and breaking Raonic twice more n the set whilst winning half of his return points.

Raonic entered the semifinals with 19 service holds in 19 service games, but he was undone by the all-court game of the rising German. Raonic drops to 6-3 on clay in 2017 while Zverev improves to 14-3.

Isner won for the second consecutive time against Marin Cilic despite never converting a break point in the two-hour and 37-minute tussle. The American pumped in 21 aces to increase his tour-leading total to 93. He saved four of six break points and won tiebreakers in the first and third set to increase his record to 5-1 on clay this season.

Isner is 0-2 in two previous meetings against the German.

"Against Sascha, it's an extremely tough match,” Isner said, according to the ATP's website. “I actually know him very well, since he was very young. I train with him a bunch, and I played him two times and I'm 0-2. I would certainly love to get some revenge on him. But he's playing remarkably well, and it was only a matter of time, in my opinion, before he started having results like this."


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