Juan Martin del Potro remained on course for a rare Sunshine Double when he outlasted Milos Raonic 5-7, 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (7/3) in a marathon quarterfinal at the Miami Open on Wednesday.
Del Potro, who claimed the Indian Wells title earlier this month, fed off the energy of a raucous crowd that was firmly behind the Argentine, wearing down the 20th-seeded Canadian in a match lasting almost three hours.
The clock had just struck midnight on an unusually cool evening when fifth seed Del Potro finally dispatched Raonic.
The Canadian was defeated despite not facing a single break point in the first two sets, before the contest took a bizarre twist at the start of the decider when both players were broken twice in a row.
Order was soon restored as both men held for the next eight games, sending the contest to a deciding tiebreaker, in which Raonic never recovered after double-faulting to fall 2-0 down.
The result continued Del Potro's hot streak, after he won in California 10 days ago, beating Roger Federer in a compelling three-set final to claim a maiden Masters title.
The 2009 US Open champion advances to face another big server, American John Isner, who overwhelmed South Korean Chung Hyeon 6-1, 6-4 in an afternoon match. A fired up Isner yelled "Come on" and pumped his fist when he broke Chung's serve in the first set to race to a 3-1 lead, ending the Korean's streak of 27 consecutive holds of serve. The 14th-seeded Isner, 32, cruised through the remainder of the 25-minute opener, in which he fired seven of his 13 aces.
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