Australian Open: Nadal joins Federer in semis as renaissance continues

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal produced his most assured performance at the 2017 Australian Open tournament on Wednesday by dispatching World No.3, Milos Raonic, in three straight sets.

Nadal beat the big-hitting Canadian 6-4 7-6(7) 6-4.

The former World No.1 will meet Grigor Dimitrov on Friday to try and book his first Grand Slam final ticket in four years.

The last time Nadal made the final was in 2013 – at the Australian Open, where he was beaten by Stanislas Wawrinka.

Nadal and Raonic held serve until the Canadian was broken in the eighth game, which was all Nadal needed to wrap up the set 6-4.

The second set was also the same though Raonic called a medical break in the sixth game to take treatment on a troublesome hip. Both players held serve and the set had to be decided by tie break. Raonic was leading 5-3 in tie break but Nadal roared back to win 9-7.

The third set was also a very tight affair with Nadal needing just one break of service to ensure passage into the semis.

This is Nadal’s fifth time in the semis as he prevented Raonic from matching his record of last year’s tournament. Raonic hit 14 aces to Nadal’s 4 but he won just 68 per cent of his first serves while Nadal won 83 per cent.

Of the four players in the semis, only Dimitrov is below 30 years. Federer is 35, Nadal is 30, while Wawrinka is 31. Dimitri is 25.

In the ladies side, three of the semi-finalists are over 30 – Venus [36], Serena [35] and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni is 34. The fourth semi-finalist, Coco Vandeweghe is 25.

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