Cincinnati, OH, United States (4E Sports) – Julien Benneteau reached his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semifinal after rallying past world No. 4 Stanislas Wawrinka, 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 at the Western & Southern Open Friday.
Benneteau hammered nine aces and broke serve four times to clinch the win in 80 minutes, becoming the first Frenchman to advance to the Cincinnati semis since Arnaud Clement in 2000.
Benneteau earned his second Top 10 win of the year, following a triumph over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga en route to the quarterfinals at the BNP Paribas Open.
The former World No. 26 relinquished the first set in just 27 minutes, but broke immediately for a 2-0 lead in the second and never looked back, reeling off 12 of 15 games behind an impressive display of defense and guile.
For a spot in the final, Benneteau will next face David Ferrer, who defeated Tommy Robredo, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Meanwhile, fifth seed Milos Raonic punched his ticket into the semifinals, needing just 57 minutes to dispatch Fabio Fognini 6-1, 6-0.
The Canadian fired seven aces and 24 winners, converting on all six break points to advance against either Roger Federer or Andy Murray in the semifinal.
Raonic is the only player this season to reach the quarters or better at six ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, having advanced as far in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte-Carlo and Toronto. He was a semi-finalist in Rome as well.
On the women’s side, Serena Williams cruised to the semifinal via an easy 6-1, 6-3 win over Jelena Jankovic.
Williams will next face fourth seed and close friend Caroline Wozniacki, who ousted fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).
Williams is 7-1 lifetime versus Wozniacki, including wins in their last four meetings.