Tennis

Raonic reaches quarters at Japan Open

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TOKYO (AP)

Third-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada overpowered Jeremy Chardy of France 6-4, 6-3 on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Japan Open.

Raonic, coming off a win at the Thailand Open on Sunday, hit 17 aces in the match.

"I'm playing better match by match," Raonic said. "I like this court. I've played four sets on this court so I have a good sense of how the ball reacts."

After coasting through the first set, Raonic took control in the sixth game of the second when he broke Chardy with a smash at the net to go up 4-2.

The 22-year-old Canadian, ranked 11th in the world, then held serve with three straight aces to take a 5-2 lead. Chardy fought back to make it 5-3 before Raonic closed out the match with another three aces in the final game.

Raonic will next face Slovakian Lukas Lacko, who beat qualifier Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France 7-5, 6-4.

"He doesn't have anything to lose," Raonic said. "As usual, I'll focus on my serve. He's a very dangerous and powerful player so I will have to play a tight, disciplined game."

In other matches, sixth-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain also advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Horacio Zeballos of Argentina.

Defending champion and local favorite Kei Nishikori, who beat Raonic in last year's final, beat Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (4), 6-0 and will face Almagro on Friday.

Top-seeded Juan Martin del Potro will play Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine in the quarterfinals on Friday.

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