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Milos Raonic plays in the quarter-final of the BNP Paribas Open against Sam Querrey at Indian Wells on March 16, 2018.Jayne Kamin-Oncea

Canadian Milos Raonic advanced to the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open on Friday with a 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 win over American Sam Querrey.

Raonic relied on his big serve, firing 17 aces and winning 74 per cent of his first-service points to reach the semi-finals of a Masters 1000 event for the first time in 18 months. The quarter-final match lasted 1 hour 51 minutes.

Raonic, seeded 32nd at the tournament, started the first set on the wrong track when Querrey broke his serve in the first game. But the Thornhill, Ont., product rallied, breaking Querrey for a 5-5 tie and again for the 7-5 win.

Raonic had five of his aces in the third set and broke Querrey to go up 5-3. The Canadian fought off two break points in the next game before converting on his second match point to put Querrey away.

Raonic, a former World No. 3, dropped to 38th n the ATP rankings after battling injuries. Querrey is ranked 21st.

In the semi-final, Raonic will play Juan Martin del Potro, who defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Raonic made the final at the BNP Paribas Open in 2016 before losing to Novak Djokovic.

Roger Federer and Venus Williams won in straight sets on Thursday, extending the 36-year-old Swiss superstar's bid for a record sixth title in the desert and the 37-year-old American's attempt to win her first.

Federer defeated Chung Hyeon 7-5, 6-1 and equal his career-best start of 16-0 from 2006.

Williams beat Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 6-2 in the event where she first broke out as a 16-year-old qualifier in 1997.

Federer won the Australian Open in January and has regained the No. 1 ranking. Williams returned to the top 10 last year after being runner-up at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

With files from The Associated Press

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