Nadal Steamrolls Raonic to Set Up Dimitrov Semi at Australian Open
by Staff | January 25th, 2017, 8:28 am
  • 50 Comments

Tales of Rafael Nadal’s physical and/or mental demise have seemingly been greatly exaggerated.


The No. 9 seed and former No. 1 made a statement on Wednesday at the Australian Open, taking down No. 3 seed Milos Raonic in straight sets 6-4, 7-6(7), 6-4 to move into the semifinals.

Raonic appeared uncomfortable from the get-go as he was unable to overpower the former No. 1, who refused to miss from the baseline. The Canadian tried to press at the net but came away with barely over 50 percent success in his 52 trips forward. The second set was a tighter affair as the Spaniard was forced to save six set points. Serving at 4-5 in the third, Raonic dropped serve at love before the handshake.

It was a revenge win for Nadal, who lost to the Canadian in the Brisbane quarterfinals earlier this month.

“He beat me two weeks ago in Brisbane, so I decided to go more inside the court on the return,” Nadal said. “I knew there were going to be tough moments in the match, he has one of the top two serves on the tour and he’s able to play so aggressive on the return.”

Nadal says he’s ready to take the mental struggles of a comeback from injury as a challenge in 2017.

“It’s normal even when I was winning a lot I had doubts, so you can imagine I had a lot more when I’m not winning and have injuries,” Nadal said. “You’re ready to work more…I had a great career but a lot of tough moments, so that makes me enjoy even more the good moments I have, especially on this unbelievable court.”

In the semis Nadal will meet Grigor Dimitrov after the No. 15 seed extended his winning streak to 10 matches, turning what looked to be a grinding affair into a breeze by dismissing No. 11 seed David Goffin 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

“In the first set, it was absolutely nerve-racking,” Dimitrov said. “I was not striking the ball as well as I could. I think I was a bit passive, but with each game and with each point I found my groove, so I’m just happy right now.”

Nadal says it looks like Dimitrov has finally come into his own after flopping years back under the pressure of the “Baby Fed” mantle.

“Grigor is a great player,” Nadal said. “Everybody thought he was gonna be a very top, top player before today, and finally he started the season unbelievable. He’s playing so, so good. He’s very confident, he’s playing very well, and I’m going to have a very tough match. I know I’m going to have to play my best tennis if I’m going to have a chance.”

Nadal has won seven of his eight encounters with Dimitrov, but lost their most recent at 2016 Beijing in straight sets.

Tomorrow in Melbourne will feature the blockbuster all-Swiss semifinal of (17) Roger Federer vs. (4) Stan Wawrinka.


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Nadal Downs Dimitrov, Faces Berdych In Madrid SFs; Murray Meets Nishikori
Nadal Wins Two In Barcelona, Sets Up Showdown With Raonic; Tipsarevic Continues To Struggle; Sharapova Into Stuttgart SFs
Coric Ends Nadal’s Season In Basel, Federer Overwhelms Dimitrov; Ferrer v Murray In Valencia
Goffin Finally Stops Dimitrov, Thiem Upset In Rotterdam; Tsonga v Berdych Saturday

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50 Comments for Nadal Steamrolls Raonic to Set Up Dimitrov Semi at Australian Open

FedExpress Says:

come on dimi


J-Kath Says:

Dimi hasn’t a hope in heaven or h-ll.


madmax Says:

Wow!

This is really hotting up.

J-Kath, I agree!


Nits Says:

A study should be done on Nadal. How many comebacks are humanly possible???
May be new coaching is doing something or not. I really liked his court position while receiving service bombs in first set.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Great match from Rafa, but I didn’t think he was really tested as much as I expected. Milos honestly looked like he regressed from last years AO. There was just no aggression in his game. As if he’s going to out rally Rafa? Last year he was going for broke on his groundstrokes.
Its true that he came to the net a lot, but again, his net game seemed nowhere near as good as last years. Rafa, as expected, came up with amazing passing shots, but Milos had MANY opportunities and flubbed easy volleys.

So, his game plan was bad and his execution was bad. Add to that, a mediocre service match for his standards, and I don’t think this was close to a career highlight for Milos.

That’s not to take away from Rafa. He looked great. I just mean that he wasn’t tested to the extent we expected.


FedExpress Says:

The question is: can fed beat wawa and nadal back to back and overcome the mental block vs nadal.

their last gs match was the ao 2014 semis which nadal won pretty straightforward. fed tried to shorten the points and came to the net very ofte. but his approach shots were very bad.

he has to find a way to beat nadal again.


Kathy Says:

@FedExpress “he has to find a way to beat nadal again.”

No he doesn’t. Vamos Rafa. Rafa deserves an AO winners ceremony where he gets the limelight.


jane Says:

milos’ net approaches were ill-timed imo. some bad play.

but rafa looks unbeatable. he hit much flatter in last night’s match and his movement is unreal. i think he’ll win his 15th. but a couple matches to go first.

grigor’s second serve is not super strong – i think rafa can beat him.


RZ Says:

I would pencil Rafa into the final. Dmitrov has come a long way in recent months and it’s nice to see him have a good run, but he’s going to have the same match-up problems that Fed has with Rafa.

Maybe I’m speaking too soon here as we’re only in the semis stage, but anyone else getting reminded of the 2002 US Open where despite the advance of the new generation, we had a Sampras vs Agassi final?


madmax Says:

FedExpress Says:
The question is: can fed beat wawa and nadal back to back and overcome the mental block vs nadal.

their last gs match was the ao 2014 semis which nadal won pretty straightforward. fed tried to shorten the points and came to the net very ofte. but his approach shots were very bad.

he has to find a way to beat nadal again.

January 25th, 2017 at 9:58 am

Hold ya horses FE!

Wawa first…preparation, dedication, deliberation.

After that, let’s talk…

Rafa is already into the final – how wonderful that these guys are still in the tournament after being out through injury – what a comeback tour!


RZ Says:

Lakie is back on top of the leader board. (Yesterday after the update Elina was on top but I didn’t have a chance to post the update – sorry Elina!).

The scenarios of who will win the bracket depending on what happens in the semis and finals are up. Either Elina, J.S., or Lakie will be our winner. http://www.tourneytopia.com/RacquetBracketAussieOpenATP/TennisXersAussieOpen2017/pool/whatif.aspx


J.S. Says:

WOOOHOOO!!! I was on the bottom too…..THanks Rafa for putting me in Top 3!!
Wait all 3 of us have different champions? Ok, I like this friendly competition, FUN FUN!!


skeezer Says:

That wasn’t the new Roanic who has been blasting serves and FH’s this past year. Too bad for him. This is scary good news for Rafa fans. Rafa looked good, real good. His confidence is back. You can tell by the way he is now hugging the baseline, rather than standing way behind the baseline. His serve imho worked very well also, with good effective location. Dimi better bring his AA++ game or it will be another 3 setter for Rafa.


nits Says:

One should also consider the possibility of wawranika nadal final. Then who is your pick ??


FedExpress Says:

or dimi-wawa final.


skeezer Says:

If Stanimal gets by Fed I’d favor him. Am sure Rafa is hopin He sees Fed lol.
Don’t trust Dimi’s game, yet…


RZ Says:

@J.S. – The 3 of you had different winners (you have Rafa def. Andy, but also correctly picked Dmitrov as a semifinalist; Elina has Fed def. Novak, but also correctly picked Stan as a semifinalist; and Lakie has Andy defeating Novak but has Rafa and Stan in the semis). It’s possible to win the bracket without having the correct winner if you have other good picks to give you points along the way. I won the last U.S. Open bracket even though I had Novak and Andy in the final (can’t remember which one I chose to win – Andy I think) but won only because no one had picked Stan to win and my points up til then held.


Daniel Says:

Agree TV, for what I saw end of second set onwards Raonic was average. he made less than 15 aces in 3 long sets, very bad for his standards. He wasn’t using his inside out FH flat, trying too much to redirect the ball to Nadal´s BH with no pop. BH volley was awfull apart form 1 magical point he won in tiebreak.

Played a bad 30-40 set point on second set where he threw and easy BH out and not to mention that bizarre DF on set point, he had to at least make Nadal play that point.

He did seem tense form the get go. He was talking too much with his box and venting frustrations. When he is on he keeps his composure, Fed Wimby 2016?! Was not a good match for him and even so he was a point away from being 1 set a piece.

Nadal was steady, but this details, Zevrev 5 sets, Monfils 4 set and he having come back shows that his game is not top notch still. He is having great wins agaisnt all sorts fo fragile players. Dimi the same. Even if Dimi is in a position to win, with this Nadal in comeback resiliant mode, I fancy Nadal.

He may add an extra gear, his serving was pretty solid today. Thing he is the safer bet to finals now.


Margot Says:

Agree with you guys about Milos. Just not the same player as last year but he had a MTO so perhaps something was wrong. He seems to get injured rather too much.
I don’t think Dimi is up to beating Rafa yet but I have read his back hand isn’t so vulnerable to Rafa as Fed’s. Hit at a slightly different height because Dimi is taller than Fed.
As for Stan, will the monster or the mouse turn up?


Robert Says:

The sooner Tennis is rid of Nadal the better. This guy with his actions is a disgrace and we totally accept bad behavior. How people can pay to watch this completely classless example of a human is beyond me. Between him constantly having his hand in his backside then touching his nose to the extended time he takes between points is beyond ridiclous. Robin Soderling had it right when he made an example of it but he has been the only one with the nads to do it. You watch him and become disgusted then watch someone that couducts themselves properly and you realize how bad it is (or you should). When I think kids might be looking up to this creep it makes me want to cry. His parents must be completely out of their minds to see this behavior and not say: Rafa….leave your butt alone!!!! Love it when you hear that he has a tick. But that tick only happens on the Tennis court during matches. What an idiot.


Daniel Says:

Another positive for Dimi is that he won last math in fast HC pretty easy and every HC match they played he won a set, several best of three and in AO also (which Nadal won after losing first set).


SG1 Says:

Things I think I thought preview…

RAFA IS ALIVE AND WELL!


Bob Lewis Says:

Raonic has improved, but the movement part will always be a limiting factor. We’ll see if Wawa can finally get a non-clay win over Fed. Anything can happen in sports, so we shouldn’t be so presumptuous about the outcomes. Same for the other SF. Dimitrov is a bit of a head case, so I wouldn’t put any money down on him.

Nadal is now the oddsmakers fav to win the tournament, even on this lower-bouncing slick surface. Some of it has to do with Fed having the tougher SF on paper. But not many have confidence in RF’s ability to beat Rafa even on this fast surface. Ouch, so much for being “the greatest.”


lyle nubbins Says:

Grigor has played well and I’m glad be is back on form. However, he definitely benefitted from a weak draw. I think Rafa beats him.

The question is does Stan ruin the party by beating Fed?


J-Kath Says:

Nits:

My pick would be Rafa – simply because Stan is less likelier than Rafa to carry forward consistency (by a hair though).


Willow Says:

Interestingly Stan has not lost a GS final, hes been in 3, and won all 3 hmm ….


Truth Says:

Fed was destroyed by the “unimpressive” Novak. So much for GOAT Fed. I’m sure this Aussie Open erases all the Novak wins.
Fed posted a photo of Roddick on clay. Fed dementia or delusion? Anyway you look at it, Fed is one with delusions of grandeur.


Truth Says:

If fed and nadal play 5 sets, they are not that great.
If Stan and Nole are in 5 setters, it doesn’t predict how well they play in the next match.


Willow Says:

Truth i have no idea what the hell your talking about ….


skeezer Says:

” Fed is one with delusions of grandeur.”
HIs granduer has already been met overall and this tournament. All gravy baby…
Dude, you have an obsession with Roddick, suggest you get over it….and soon. He doesn’t play anymore. Oh but FYI your man Roddick just got inducted into the Tennis all of Fame. Guess his peers think he was pretty good :)


J.S. Says:

RZ – Thank you for explaining to me. I am going to win this year!!!! :)

DANIEL – Milos was down on his aces because Rafa was returning his serve. I think Moya knew what to change to get Rafa a W. I’d agree Milos can’t move and probably never will be able to like the other top players. Glad he is out, I can’t stand the “ACE” game!! Wonder if him being so tall makes it difficult on his body, did you see my link why he asked for time – out trainer today?

LYLE – “does Wawrinka ruin the party” LOL that’s the best!!! If he does, I think Rafa beats him in Finals too.
Wow fans would go crazy if that happens – thanks for bringing it up!!


J.S. Says:

TRUTH – Who are your favourite players besides Roddick? Do you like any of the top 100 players? Inquiring mind want to know!!!


Truth Says:

Fed used to enjoy the Roddick ACES. No wonder he is salivating over the “enormous” fat Roddick. Zzzzz LMAO🙀


Daniel Says:

JS.

Disagree! In the case of Raonic, Karlovic and other bomb servers, ability to return has nothing to do with ACE count. One thing is returning firts serves, another thing is when they go for aces, specially the down the T or the angled ones. With their height, when they are in the zone, is unreacheable, hence the ACE counts is high. Raonic was just not serving great, not evenb that fast per se. He was uneasy, and that is Nadal´s merit, who was always making him hit another volley and another shot. But he had nothing to do with ACE count. It´s just something to do with good days.


Kimberly Says:

Mac Enroe predicting throwback finals on bath sides
Federer v Nadal and Venus v Serena


skeezer Says:

@K
That would be cool. One last time ;)


Willow Says:

Truth do you actually like a player, that is actually still playing ? ….


Willow Says:

The last Fedal final we had in a GS was FO 2011 i believe ! ….


Willow Says:

Nice to see Kimberly here ;-) ….


RZ Says:

@J.S. – we’ll find out soon enough, but at a minimum you win the award for most enthusiasm. 🏆🎾


J-Kath Says:

RZ: I claim first place for spotting the most enthusiastic fan (J.S.)-hee ho Marjorie dore Johnny shall have a new…..etc. etc.


RZ Says:

@J-Kath – trophy for you too! 🏆🎾


J-Kath Says:

Oh RZ – I am so delighted – the first trophy I’ve had since I was knee-high to a caterpillar. Shall sleep with a grin on my face tonight…and shall add it to my CV – no limit to what heights I’ll reach now.

Hugs
K


RZ Says:

J-Kath: 😀


Chrisford1 Says:

In odds and probabilities involving the Big 4 +Stan , it is hard to think of an event with more odds weighted against it than a Fedal Final these days at a major. Odds of Fed beating Nadal at any event off a fast court or indoors is almost as minute.

Still not there yet, but if Rafa wins it’s a double career grand Slam, and Fed would be re-worshipped by his slobbering Fed-Love fans as best ever.
The AO would also be more helpful career wise to Rafa than “La Decima”, which if he somehow eventually gets, will eventually hurt his regard down the road. 2/3rds of his Slams and 64% of Masters 1000s won on clay would give Nadal a long spot as the guy who was great due to Clay, though he some success off clay..
Roger? Winning at his age would put him in the super elite of “greatest athletes” who still won as elder statesmen’ of their sport. Like Jordan, Nicklaus, Mohammed Ali..not only celebrated but getting bucketloads of money in endorsements well after his playing days have ended. His head-to-heads once his young fellow Greats once they arrived in full form waived off as not relevant.


J.S. Says:

TRUTH –
Look what Roddick said to you this morning.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04qqh75

Maybe this will change your tune??


J.S. Says:

3rd game was great tennis….Wawrinka/Federer
Edge of your seats??

Who you rooting for?


FedExpress Says:

hahhahaha

NID


FedExpress Says:

Phew


J.S. Says:

OMG THIS IS A DOG FIGHT!!! I did not expect this from Wawrinka…HOLD ON FOLKS!!

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