It was a Rafael Nadal master-class in the quarterfinal match against Canadian world No. 3 Milos Raonic at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Wednesday. Nadal, who has announced his comeback to top flight tennis in spectacular fashion at the opening Grand Slam of the year, beat Raonic 6-4, 7-6 (9-7), 6-4 to enter the semifinals where he will face Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.
Rafael Nadal hit 40 winners against the big-serving Raonic, who, true to reputation, fired in 14 aces, against the Spaniard’s four. But in the serve vs return match-up, Nadal, chasing his15th Grand Slam title Down Under, prevailed, and that too in some style.
After the match, Nadal recalled the difficult times he had to endure and how, hard work has helped him overcome the doubts that kept haunting him.
On overcoming the tough phase:
“Even when I was winning a lot I had doubts but that’s good as when you have doubts you’re ready to work more,” said Nadal. “You know how tough the victories are… I think I had a great career but at the same time I had a lot of tough moments. So, that makes me enjoy it even more than the good moments that I’m having today especially.”
On how won the second set vs Raonic:
“As always, I don’t know. I just tried to keep fighting to win the next point and that’s the only way. That’s the way I’ve worked it out all my career. Today, it was against a very very difficult opponent,” said the 31-year-old.
Coming into the match after a loss vs Raonic:
“He beat me two weeks ago in Brisbane in a tough match so I decided to go a bit more inside the court tonight,” revealed Nadal.
“Then I know that there’s going to be tough moments in the match now with a player like him; he has one of the top two serves in the tour and then he’s able to play so aggressive on the tour so I needed to be very focused, very concentrated with my serve and I think I did and accept all the difficulties that the match can happen.”
On Grigor Dimitrov:
“Grigor is a great player I think. Everybody thought he gonna be a very top top player before than today and finally he started the season. Unbelievable! He’s playing so so good so just congratulate him because I know last year was tough year for him and when you’re coming back that is strong you know, that’s give you even more power,” said Nadal.
“So he’s very confident, he’s playing very well and I gonna have a very tough match. I always have to keep fighting for every ball; keep playing well and I know I’ll have to keep playing my best tennis to have any chance.”
On the other all-Swiss semifinal:
“I love the sport more than anything. So, if you don’t want to watch this match you don’t like the sport a lot,” said Nadal, who has had some epic matches against Roger Federer, who takes on Stan Wawrinka in the other semifinal.
“So, I think it’s amazing after having a tough injury for so many months to have Roger back in the semifinals again on a Grand Slam here in the first of the season that makes even tougher for him so…,” added Nadal. “That’s great I think, especially for him, especially for all the people who love tennis and just congratulate him for a great effort and I wish the best of luck for both of them. I hope to see a great match.”