Canada's top two men's singles players won their quarter-final matches Friday at the US$3.49-million tournament, continuing a rare run of success for homegrown players at the country's biggest tennis event.
They will face each other Saturday with a berth in Sunday's final on the line.
Pospisil became the first Canadian since Mike Belkin in 1969 to reach the final four of the event when his opponent Nikolay Davydenko retired due to illness. The Vernon, B.C., native led 3-0 in the first set.
Raonic, the 11th seed, rode the spirited support of the centre court crowd for a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Ernests Gulbis of Latvia, who had taken out second-seeded Andy Murray on Thursday.
It will be the first meeting between Raonic and Pospisil in an ATP Tour tournament. Pospisil holds a 3-1 edge in their four meetings in lower level events, but Raonic took the most recent match in 2010. They first played each other in an under-14 tournament in Edmonton.
"Exciting match," said Pospisil. "Two Canadians in the semifinal, one guaranteed to be in the final. It's a historic moment for tennis in Canada.
"We obviously know each other very well. Since we were little kids. You've got to give the edge to Milos, for sure. I have the edge in terms of head-to-head (matchups), but things have changed in the last two years. My run here doesn't change anything here in terms of that. But we'll see how it goes."
"I don't think that matters — we both start at 0-0 when the match comes," he said. "I think it means a lot, not just to us, but to Canadian tennis.
"It's an opportunity, a great, great moment. At the same time, it's another tennis match. That doesn't change."
Top seed and two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia met little resistance in a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Frenchman Richard Gasquet, stretching his Rogers Cup winning streak to 13.
Djokovic will face fourth-seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain. Nadal beat Australia's Marinko Matosevic 6-2, 6-4 to advance.
It is the first time in the Open Era that two Canadiens have met the semifinals. The last time a Canadian was in the final was 1958, when Robert Bedard won the last of his three titles.
"Fantastic news for Canadian tennis at the #rogerscup as @MilosRaonic and @VasekPospisil have reached the semis. Let's bring the cup home," tweeted Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
In the past two years, the hard-serving, 22-year-old Raonic has risen to No. 13 in the world rankings, a record for a Canadian. He may jump a few more places when the next rankings come out Monday.
He had on-court treatment in his third round win over Juan Martin De Potro for an inflamed neck muscle that led to his right arm numb, but said the arm was fine against fellow big-server Gulbis.
The key was at 4-4 in the third set when he fought off a break point to win.
"I was expecting it to be very difficult," Raonic said. "He had a great win yesterday.
"He's especially dangerous when he gets matches under him and he's feeling well. He wasn't really making many errors."
The 23-year-old Pospisil has taken a slower path than Raonic, but is on a roll of late.
He won a Challenger series tournament last week in Vancouver, then kept it going with wins over John Isner, Radek Stepanek, fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych and Davydenko, a former world No. 3 who is now ranked 47th.
The run included his first win over a player ranked in the top 20 in Isner and his first over a top-10 player in Berdych.
Not bad for someone who needed a wild-card entry to get into the tournament because he wasn't ranked high enough for direct entry.
He is already assured of winning $128,960 and gaining at least 360 points, which will take him from 71st in the world into the top 50. One benefit is that he already has an exemption into the main draw of a tournament in Cincinnati next week.
"The money's nice, but it's not about that," said Pospisil. "I set goals for myself.
"I'm thinking bigger picture. This is a huge week for me points-wise. I'm going to make a really big jump regardless of how the match goes (Saturday). I'm excited and I'll try to use the confidence I have and keep playing well."
The 20-minute match against Davydenko was ideal for Pospisil, who didn't get a lot of sleep while getting from Vancouver to Montreal and then had to grind through some tough matches.
Heading into the quarter-finals, he had played the longest match of the week against Berdych and the third-longest against Isner.
"It came at a perfect time to have a bit of rest," said Pospisil. "Even those three games (against Davydenko) I was trying to catch my breath.
"I had sore legs and was a little tired, but I was hitting the ball well. I'll try to rest up."
After the match, Davydenko said he has been battling bronchitis since Monday. With Pospisil playing well and battling hard for every point, he felt he didn't have the energy to continue.
"I just want to see how he will play," the 32-year-old said. "But the second game was very tough for me. He played long rallies and I could not hold this level."
He was not sure if he will be fit enough to play in Cincinnati, but expects to be ready for the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 26 in New York.
Gulbis called it a successful tournament despite the loss as he faced seeded players three days in a row.
"Game-wise, I don't think it was the best match because neither of us gave the other any rhythm," he said. "He's serving big, I'm serving big.
"At 4-4, break point, if I start to make those passing shots I'll start to win against these guys."Suggest a correction