Milos Raonic first Canadian to reach Australian Open semi-finals
Big server too good for Frenchman Gael Monfils and sets up clash with Andy Murray
Milos Raonic proved too good for Frenchman Gael Monfils on Wednesday as he became the first Canadian to reach the Australian Open semi-finals and set up a clash with Andy Murray.
The 13th seed with the powerful serve won 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours, 17 minutes to reach what will be his second grand slam semi-final after Wimbledon in 2014.
Raonic also extended his unbeaten run this year to nine matches. He has not lost at tour level since going down to Rafael Nadal in the third round at Shanghai in October.
The purposeful and composed Canadian broke the Monfils serve three times and hit 47 winners, 17 with his cracking forehand.
Raonic, 25, lost to Roger Federer at Wimbledon two years ago and now gets another opportunity against four-time runner-up Murray on Friday.
“It’s a great challenge ahead of me. A challenge that I believe I have with myself to find a solution to,” Raonic said.
“A great fight that I am going to put on out there with all my heart, all my effort and hopefully I can make the most of my opportunity.”
Monfils was broken in the fourth game when his backhand was forced wide, and Raonic needed four set points before clinching the opening set with a thumping serve.
The Frenchman made more of a contest of it in the second set, capitalising when Raonic committed three forehand errors and a double fault to drop serve for 4-2.
Monfils, serving big, levelled the match on his first set point.
But the Canadian romped away with the third set, breaking in the opening game and grabbing a two sets to one lead with a smash.
Raonic stepped up and broke Monfils in the fifth game of the fourth set with a net winner and cruised to victory.
Raonic’s first win over the athletic Frenchman in three meetings comes after he also enjoyed his maiden victory over French Open champion Stan Wawrinka in the previous round.