Nadal tamed by 'aggressive' Raonic
Defending champion Milos Raonic beat former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in three sets yesterday to reach the Brisbane International semi-finals.
The big-serving Canadian blasted 50 winners, including 23 aces, to overcome the Spaniard 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and set up a last-four clash with seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov.
Returning from a wrist injury, Nadal took the first set, but momentum swung at 3-3 in the second when Raonic claimed four straight games.
Raonic capitalised on an early break in the decider and served out to book a semi-final against Dimitrov, who beat Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
"It was a great match tonight and I'm very happy with myself, how I competed against such a great player and competitor as Rafa," said Raonic, who fired down 19 more aces than the 30-yearold Nadal, in a courtside interview.
NOT MUCH RUNNING
"That's six games I got for myself without having to run too much, which is very generous of myself."
Nadal, returning to the ATP Tour this week after injury, struck 19 winners as he continued his preparations for this month's Australian Open.
"He was more aggressive than me... but I take the positives. It was a small difference," said the Spaniard, who added former world No. 1 Carlos Moya to his coaching team last month as he seeks to revive his career following a spate of injuries.
World No. 4 Stan Wawrinka survived aggressive hitting from Briton Kyle Edmund before winning 6-7 (2/7), 6-4, 6-4 in another quarter-final.
Edmund cruised through the first-set tie-break before Wawrinka, making his Brisbane debut, raised his game to beat the world No. 51.
Swiss Wawrinka will meet Kei Nishikori in the semi-finals after the Japanese third seed's 6-1, 6-1 win over local favourite Jordan Thompson. - REUTERS