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A great Nadal defeats Raonic and returns to the semifinals

A great Nadal defeats Raonic and returns to the semifinals

Spanish Rafael Nadal defeated Canadian Milos Raonic, the tallest seed remaining in the running (3), 6-4, 7-6 (7) and 6-4 to return in a fury to the semifinals of the Open de Australia and achieve their 50th victory in this tournament.
Champion in 2009 and finalist in 2012 and 2014, the Spanish southpaw had not been in the semifinals of a Grand Slam since Roland Garros in 2014, when he later won the last of his nine titles in Paris. This Wednesday he ended that streak with a superb display of aggressiveness, avenging himself for the defeat that Raonic had inflicted on him a few weeks ago in the quarter-finals in Brisbane.
“I’m not very arrogant and I’ve always had doubts,” Nadal said of his great comeback. Even when I won I had doubts, but it’s good to feel better later. It makes me even enjoy good times like this more, ”he said.
“I don’t know how I won it, just fighting,” he said about the second set in which he saved six partial balls. “I decided to be more on the court and very concentrated with my serve.”
“Grigor (Dimitrov) is a great player,” he noted about his next opponent, “everyone knows that he was already a great player before today. He’s playing very well, last year was bad for him but when you come back you have even more power, “he said.
“I love sports,” he added about the duel this Thursday between Federer and Wawrinka, “if you don’t see that match, you don’t like sport,” he continued. “It is incredible after so many injuries and so many months that he is in the semi-finals,” he added about Federer, “it is special for him and for the people who love tennis. We have to thank him, and I hope to see a great game.
Very fast, with a great service, without ever giving it up, despite the fact that Raonic had four break options, subtracting as he had not done in a long time, flat, with a deadly dry blow, always on top of the ball and dominating the few Exchanges that the Canadian allowed him, Nadal drew in the Rod Laver Arena one of his most important victories, perhaps the one he needed the most.
The one from Manacor, not only was great on the attack. Also in defense, as he saved six set points in the second quarter, three with his serve in the tenth game, and another three in the tiebreaker, to later confirm the first opportunity he had, when Raonic served and his forehand attack was was interrupted by the tape and then the ball bounced out.
Before that wall, Raonic was not fine with his best weapon, the serve. He had reached the duel with 93 and only hit 14 direct and Nadal stole it twice. He missed a scandal shot when he first delivered his serve in the seventh game of the first set, and yes, he placed a balloon on Nadal in the tiebreaker that lifted the public from their seats.
Halfway through the second set, the Canadian, who had indicated that he was almost fully recovered from his feverish process, told the chair umpire, “I can’t start”, and asked for time and a doctor to leave the court. But upon his return, the now disciple of Richard Krajicek could not interrupt the monologue of the meeting.
Nadal followed to the letter the script drawn up to break in the last game of the match, when Raonic was already desperate because Rafa was insurmountable.
His duel against Dimitrov will be Nadal’s 24th Grand Slam semi-final, haunting Andre Agassi’s 26 and fifth in Melbourne. After Roland Garros, where he has 72 victories and only two defeats, the Australian Open is the ‘best’ where he has been most effective, with 50-10.
Today’s victory will project him to sixth place in the world. He is two more wins away from the title, which would be his 15th Grand Slam, and if he did, he would appear fourth on the list next Monday.
Nadal will meet in the semifinals against the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who advanced to this round for the first time in Melbourne by defeating the Belgian David Goffin, 6-3, 6-2 and 6-4, in two hours and 13 minutes.
The Spaniard dominates the Bulgarian, whom he has beaten in seven of his eight meetings. Dimitrov’s only victory came in the Beijing quarterfinals last year (6-2, 6-4). Nadal already defeated him in the Australian Open quarterfinals three years ago (3-6, 7-6, 7-6 and 6-2). In five hard court matches, Rafa won four.
Dimitrov had exploited his resources, and after spending two years ‘on a constant roller coaster’, as he himself put it, he made the penultimate round in Melbourne for the first time exhibiting his class.
Endowed with one of the greatest talents on the circuit, the Bulgarian keeps his 2017 schedule flawless. He has still not lost a match of the ten that he has played, having recently won the fifth title of his career in Brisbane, defeating the Japanese Kei Nishikori in the final, and has now reached the second semi-final of a Grand Slam in his career, after from Wimbledon almost three years ago.
The Haskovo player, trained since July last year by Venezuelan Daniel Vallverdú, formerly of Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych, is already the first Bulgarian (male or female) to advance to this round more than once in Grand Slam tournaments.
«With anyone that I face I must be one hundred percent. There are no shortcuts to win a Grand Slam, “he said before. “I think now I have my priorities clearer and I know what I want from myself as soon as I get to a tournament,” commented Dimitrov, full of morale as the only undefeated player this year, and after returning to a semifinal of a great after two years, six months and 23 days.
Semifinalist at Wimbledon by beating Andy Murray in 2014, Dimitrov acknowledged that in the last two years “everything has happened in a constant roller coaster,” said the Bulgarian, who before Vallverdú also worked with Argentine Franco Davin, Juan Martín’s former coach del Potro, and now collaborating with the Italian Fabio Fognini.
Dimitrov became eighth in the world in August 2014, his best ranking, but then dropped to 40 (July 2016). Now it is 15 and in progression, because the victory against Goffin will raise him to 12, and if he wins the title he would go up to sixth.
“I have set high goals for myself this year, and I want to be better and better,” said Dimitrov, one of the three players, with a one-handed backhand (Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, too), who will fight this year in the semifinals in Melbourne.
“His main improvement is mental,” Goffin said of the Bulgarian. In recent months it has been better than in the past. It does not award any points. It has been very solid, “he reasoned. EFE.

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