MONTREAL Aug 9 (Reuters) - Local favourite Milos Raonic held his nerve to beat Latvia's Ernests Gulbis in a thrilling quarter-final at the Rogers Cup on Friday to join fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil in the semis.
Raonic, the world number 13, kept his cool in front of a parochial home crowd as he overcame Gulbis 7-6 4-6 6-4 in a two and a half hour showdown.
With the crowd willing him on and jeering Gulbis' every shot, Raonic claimed the first set tiebreak, before his opponent forced a deciding third set through a brilliant display of shot making.
Gulbis kept swinging in the decider but Raonic's serve got him out of some difficult spots and when his opponent wobbled, Raonic pounced to seal victory and set up a meeting with Pospisil.
"It's a great opportunity for both of us, it's a good match up. I'm going to give it everything I've got," Raonic said in a courtside interview.
Pospisil won through after Russia's former world number three Nikolay Davydenko, who had showed signs this week of a return to form, retired while trailling 3-0 in the first set of their quarter-final.
The 71st ranked Pospisil had already beaten American John Isner and Czech fifth seed Tomas Berdych this week in three sets so was happy to finally have a lighter workout.
"Even in those three games, I was really trying to catch my breath," a tired Pospisil said.
"I felt like I had a bit of sore legs...so it (quick win) came at a great time."
Later on Friday, Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal attempt to set up their own semi-final when they play their quarters.
Tricky Frenchman Richard Gasquet stands in the way of Djokovic while Nadal was drawn against Australian qualifier Marinko Matosevic. (Reporting by Tom Bartlett; Editing by Julian Linden)