Rafael Nadal defeats Milos Raonic in straight sets to book his place in the Australian Open semi-finals. We witnessed the sight of vintage Nadal as the Spaniard was back to his old best when he defeated Raonic 6-4, 7-6, 6-4. The ninth seed and 2009 champion reached his fifth Australian Open semi-final – and his first Grand Slam semi-final since 2014 Roland Garros.
With a win in today’s match, Nadal also avenged his recent loss to Milos Raonic, as Canadian improved to a career-high year-end No. 3 ranking and beat Nadal in three sets in the quarterfinals at the tuneup event in Brisbane earlier in the month. Also Read- Nadal vs Raonic: As it happened
The match was played for two hours and 44 minutes and the win over Raonic was Nadal’s 50th at Melbourne Park, where he won the title in 2009 and lost in the final in 2012 and 2014. Also Read: Sania Mirza-Ivan Dodi beat Rohan Bopanna-Gabriela Dabrowski to enter semis
Nadal came out with the strategy of targeting Raonic’s backhand early on, a clear tactic from fellow Mallorcan Carlos Moya, a former World No. 1 and Raonic’s former coach now working with Nadal. This strategy proved quite successful for the Spaniard as he never let Raonic settle in the game and took an upper hand.
On the other hand, Raonic who tried his best to compete with Nadal, suffered a mid-match injury and took an off-court medical timeout to later confirm it to be an adductor injury. He also made some un-called errors during the match which somehow added to his loss. Also Read: Tearful Mirjana Lucic-Baroni extends fairytale into semis, beats fifth seed Karolina Pliskova
During his straight sets win, Nadal won 83 percent of his first service points (63 of 76 points), 22 of his 25 points at the net, hit 40 winners and committed 21 unforced errors.
Nadal will next face No. 15 seed Grigor Dimitrov, who was a straight-sets winner over No. 11 David Goffin, on Friday. Nadal is 7-1 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Dimitrov, who won their last match 6-2, 6-4 in the 2016 China Open quarter-finals.
Durin the post-match conversation, Nadal said, “When I was winning a lot I had doubts so you can imagine how many I had when I was injured.”
“But that’s good when you have doubts, you feel ready to work more. You know how tough all the victories are and I had a great career and a lot of tough moments and it makes me enjoy even more the good moments I am having today.”
On Dimitrov: “Gregor is a great player, everybody expected him to be a top player before today. He’s started season unbelievable playing so so good.”
On possibly playing Federer in the final: “I love the sport more than anything. If you don’t want to watch this match you don’t love the sport.”