MILOS RAONIC STUNNED Andy Murray to book a meeting with Kei Nishikori in the Japan Open Tennis Championships final on Saturday.
Big-serving Canadian sixth seed Raonic saved two match points to overcome Murray 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) in their semi-final at the ATP 500 tournament on hard courts in Tokyo.
Top seed and defending champion Murray had two chances to wrap up the match in the 12th game of the deciding set, only to see Raonic hold on.
It was the second straight day Raonic had come back from the brink having also saved a match point before overcoming Janko Tipsarevic in his quarter-final.
Raonic broke serve to love in the opening game of the match against Murray and faced just one break point in the first two sets against the US Open champion.
Murray clawed his way back into the contest by taking out the tie-breaker in the second set.
The Brit looked in complete control when he broke early in the third to storm out to a 4-1 lead.
Raonic responded to get back on serve in the seventh game and after saving two match points, closed out the victory in two hours and 46 minutes.
The 21-year-old will face Nishikori in the final as he chases his third ATP World Tour title of the year and first since February.
A victory could move Raonic back into the top 10, needing to break into the top eight to qualify for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London.
Local hero Nishikori was far more comfortable in his 6-2 6-2 thrashing of Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis.
The eighth seed converted four of six break points to cruise to victory in just 61 minutes to reach his first Tour final of the year.
If he defeats Raonic, the title would be his first since winning at Delray Beach in February 2008.