Nadal sees off Raonic to reach Australian Open last four
The Spanish world number nine defeated the big-serving third seed 6-4, 7-6, 6-4 to set up a semi-final against Grigor Dimitrov.
Rafa Nadal continued his brilliant revival at the Australian Open to topple Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6, 6-4 on Wednesday and reach his first grand slam semi-final in three years.
The 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.
First grand slam semi-final since 2014
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.
The 14-time Grand Slam champion was too clinical for the Canadian, winning in two hours 44 minutes and will play Bulgaria's 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov in Friday's semi-final. He leads Dimitrov 7-1 in career head-to-head meetings.
"Milos is a very difficult opponent. He beat me two weeks ago in Brisbane in a tough match so I decided to go a little bit more inside the court on the return tonight," Nadal said. "I knew that there were going to be tough moments in the match with a player like him, that he has one of the top serves in the tour."
It was the 30-year-old Spaniard's fifth Australian Open semi-final and his 24th in Grand Slams.
Nadal bidding to become third man to win all slams twice
Nadal is bidding to win his second Australian Open title and become the first man in the Open Era -- and only the third man in history -- to win each of the four Grand Slam titles twice.
With his victory Nadal is projected to rise to six in next week's ATP rankings unless Dimitrov goes on to win the Australian title, in which case he would be number seven.
A title in Melbourne would lift Nadal to fourth on the world rankings.
Nadal v Raonic match stats
Nadal - Raonic
4 Aces 14
4 Double Faults 2
40 Winners 39
21 Unforced Errors 32
2/3 Break Point Conversions 0/4
117 Total Points Won 95
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