Rafael Nadal beats Milos Raonic and admits he doubted he would ever reach Australian Open semis again
Spaniard continues revival in Melbourne as he reaches last four of a major for first time since 2014 French Open
Rafa Nadal continued his brilliant revival at the Australian Open to topple Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6 (9-7), 6-4 and reach his first grand slam semi-final in three years.
The ninth-seeded Spaniard joined Roger Federer in the last four, keeping alive the prospect of a dream final between the two great rivals who have claimed 31 grand slam titles between them.
Having not reached a major semi-final since his 2014 French Open title, the 30-year-old Nadal produced a match from his halcyon days to fell the third-seeded Canadian in two hours and 44 minutes at a floodlit Rod Laver Arena.
Nadal will play 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria for a place in the final – with Federer taking on fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka in the other semi – after the Spaniard emphatically batted away doubts that his best days were long gone.
“I think I am not a very arrogant person so I always have doubts,” he said in a court-side interview, when asked if he thought he would ever reach the Australian Open semi-finals again.
“Even when I was winning I had doubts and even more so when I had injuries. But doubts make you work harder.
“I have had a great career but I had some tough moments so that makes me enjoy moments like this even more,” he added.
Nadal had to save six set points as Raonic pressed hard in the second set but he was clinical on the big points and broke the Canadian to love to wrap up the match in style.
The Rod Laver Arena terraces roared their approval as the 2009 champion pumped his fists in celebration, having endured two lean years at the grand slams.