Nadal ends 964-day wait to reach a Slam semifinal

Top Stories

Nadal ends 964-day wait to reach a Slam semifinal
Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates beating Canada's Milos Raonic in the quarterfinal in Melbourne on Wednesday. (AFP)

Melbourne - The 14-time Grand Slam champion was too clinical for the Canadian Raonic


  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Wed 25 Jan 2017, 9:03 PM

Last updated: Thu 26 Jan 2017, 2:57 PM

Rafael Nadal claimed a dominant straight-sets win over world number three Milos Raonic to advance to the semifinals at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
The 14-time Grand Slam champion was too clinical for the Canadian, winning 6-4, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 in two hours 44 minutes and will play Bulgaria's 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov in Friday's semifinal. He leads Dimitrov 7-1.
Nadal kept alive hopes of a much-anticipated ninth Grand Slam final with his great rival Roger Federer as the tournament got down to the last four.
It is the Spanish great's first Grand Slam semifinal appearance since his last 2014 French Open triumph after recent injury setbacks. Tu put it perspective, it was 964 days ago that the injury-prone Nadal last reached a Grand Slam semifinal.  "Milos is a very difficult opponent. He beat me two weeks ago in Brisbane in a tough match so I decided to go a little bit more inside the court on the return tonight," Nadal said.
"I knew that there were going to be tough moments in the match with a player like him, that he has one of the top serves in the tour."
It was the 30-year-old Spaniard's fifth Australian Open semifinal and his 24th in Grand Slams.
Nadal is bidding to win his second Australian Open title and become the first man in the Open Era - and only the third man in history - to win each of the four Grand Slam titles twice.
With his victory Nadal is projected to rise to six in next week's ATP rankings unless Dimitrov goes on to win the Australian title, in which case he would be number seven. A title in Melbourne would lift Nadal to fourth on the world rankings.
Meanwhile, Dimitrov says he has what it takes to upset the odds and go the distance at the Australian Open after storming past David Goffin and into the semi-finals.
The 15th-seeded Bulgarian had few problems in a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win over the Belgian 11th seed in two hours, 13 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.
Next up is Nadal in Friday's semi-final, but Dimitrov believes he's ready to land his first major title. "I feel like I have all the tools to go further and my job isn't over yet," he said. "I'm looking forward to my match. I think I'm prepared.
"I think I'm ready to go the distance. I don't shy away from that. I'm confident enough to say that as I feel good physically, and overall on the court."
The win also equalled Dimitrov's career-best winning streak of 10 matches after his lead-up tournament win in the Brisbane International, where he beat world number five Kei Nishikori in the final. 
The last time the Bulgarian won 10 straight matches was back in 2014, when he took the title at Queen's and reached the last four at Wimbledon.
"I'm just going forward with the confidence that I have built up also from the previous tournament," he said.
"Now with each match I've been feeling better and better. It just all comes pretty natural right now."
Dimitrov, now working with Andy Murray's former coach Daniel Vallverdu, said mentally he was a better player.
"I think I'm taking better decisions when I come out on the court, better decisions in terms of points or how I'm going to play certain players or how I'm going to prepare before my matches," he said. 
Wednesday (x denotes seeding):
Men's singles
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x15) bt David Goffin (BEL x11) 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
Rafael Nadal (ESP x9) bt Milos Raonic (CAN x3) 6-4, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4
Women's singles
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) bt Karolina Pliskova (CZE x5) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
Serena Williams (USA x2) bt Johanna Konta (GBR x9) 6-2, 6-3

More news from