Milos Raonic up next for Rafael Nadal in Australian Open 2017 quarterfinal
Milos Raonic is expected to test fit-again Rafael Nadal in a bid to reach the semifinals of Australian Open 2017 tennis.tennis Updated: Jan 25, 2017 10:41 IST
The chances of a ninth Grand Slam final between the old rivals - Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer - have dramatically improved after the shock exits of top seeds Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic put the title up for grabs.
Recovery time after today's match! 😉 pic.twitter.com/TLBa9REPOz— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) January 21, 2017
But 30-year-old Nadal, the 14-time Grand Slam champion, first has to get past third seed Raonic, the highest-ranked player still standing in the men’s quarter-finals.
The Canadian, yet to win his first major title, suffered heartbreak in last year’s Melbourne semi-finals when a groin injury put paid to his chances against Murray.
But he should pose Nadal his biggest problem yet in this year’s tournament, where the Spaniard is bidding to end a major title drought stretching back to the 2014 French Open.
The winner will face either Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov or Belgian David Goffin in the semi-final in the bottom half of the draw.
Nadal leads Raonic 6-2 in their meetings, but he lost to the power-server only this month, over three sets in the Brisbane International quarter-finals.
“He’s an opponent that makes you feel you’re playing with a lot of pressure all the time because his serve is huge and he’s playing very aggressive from the baseline,” Nadal said.
“So it’s going to be a very tough match and I need to be very focused with my serve and play aggressive. If I am not playing aggressive, then I am dead.”
Nadal has shown his trademark fighting qualities in reaching his first Slam quarter-final in 18 months after a series of injuries.
After overcoming top-rated German teenager Alexander Zverev over five sets in the third round, he also needed four sets to subdue flamboyant Frenchman Gael Monfils on Monday.