Nadal Bundled Out Of Brisbane International
Spaniard Rafael Nadal on Friday failed to beat Milos Raonic in the semi-finals of the Brisbane International.
Raonic, the defending champion, came back from losing the first set to overhaul Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, disappointing the sell-out crowd who were almost all cheering for a Spanish victory.
He will now play Bulgaria’s seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov following a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 winner over fourth ranked Dominic Thiem of Austria.
Raonic beat Roger Federer to win the 2016 title, the start of a successful year that saw him rise to three in the world.
But in the first set his serve was slightly off and Nadal took advantage, breaking in the fifth game to take the early lead.
Nadal had the chance to break again in the fifth game of the second set, but Raonic served his way out of trouble, saving the game with one of his 23 aces then breaking the Spaniard in the eighth game to level proceedings.
The Canadian then seized on a poor Nadal service game at the start of the third set to break him to love and when he fought off a break point of his own to go ahead 3-1, the momentum had swung to the defending champion.
Raonic, who lost to Nadal in the semi-finals of an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi last week, said he knew he had to be more aggressive if he wanted to win.
“He is always going to defend better than me, so I don’t want to play him on those terms,” Raonic said.
Nadal said a poor 10-minute spell had changed the match.
“I had 10 minutes that were very hard, and playing against a player like him, that’s terrible,” he said.
“He played aggressive, he played great, his returns on my serve during those games were very, very aggressive, and the serve was huge.”