Thursday, 26 January 2017

Nadal powers into semis

Ninth seed Spaniard Rafa Nadal and third seed Canadian Milos Raonic played the last quarter final in the second Wednesday night session.
Nadal had beaten sixth seed Monfils, and Raonic the thirteenth seed Bautista Agut, both in four sets, in their respective round of sixteen matches.
Raonic had beaten Nadal in the last meeting between the pair just two weeks prior in Brisbane.

Raonic served first and soon had 40-15 but a double fault and a Nadal forehand brought it to deuce.  Two more of them before a Canadian service winner won the game.  Nadal evened things mainly due to Raonic mistakes and then the third seed clicked into gear with a love game of his own including an ace and two winners.
2-1 Raonic.

Both were taken to deuce in their next service games, but it was Raonic who was forced to save a break point.  He managed that task by attacking the Spanish backhand successfully to lead 3-2

Nadal stepped it up with a love game, picking on the forehand of Raonic, and then after a service winner from Milos in the seventh game Rafa won four straight points to break the Canadian serve and lead 4-3.  Two winning backhands were a feature of that run.

More winners, forehands this time set Nadal on course to hold and lead 5-3, and while three aces rocketed past him in the ninth game, Nadal confidently served it out after a change of ends 6-4, a forehand smash the sealer.

Raonic began set two with a comfortable service hold but Nadal in reply was anything but comfortable, needing to save a break point and being taken to deuce five times. Games were finally 1-1
Serves were held until at 3-2 Raonic decided a medical time out was necessary.
Not much changed upon his return with both players holding serve well and contributing a high standard of tennis.

Raonic was taken to deuce in the ninth game before moving ahead 5-4 and Rafa saved three set points in the tenth game, the third with a forehand winner.  A backhand squared things at 5-5.
The tie break arrived as it appeared likely for most of the set.

Raonic's backhand volley winner to take him to 4-3 was the first point against serve in the tie break, and he stretched the lead to 5-3 with another winning volley.
A backhand winner from Nadal put things back on serve but a forehand winner from Raonic earned him two set points.
Nadal forced an error to save one but then Raonic was serving at 6-5.  A double fault was a self inflicted body blow.  He recovered to win the next point with a well played smash but Nadal won the final three points and the tie break.
The ninth seed had a two set lead 6-4 7-6.

With plenty of momentum, Nadal opened the third set to love, a couple of backhand winners included.  The Raonic forehand helped him to level at 1-1 but Nadal looked more convincing on serve and he raced to 2-1.

Nadal lost two points on serve in the fifth game, one through a double fault, and Raonic was forced to deuce in the sixth game, but no threats to serve appeared until Raonic served at 4-5, needing to hold for the match to stay alive.

Nadal hit a backhand winner on the first point and it triggered a collapse for Raonic. Backhand errors gave Nadal three match points and only the first was required.  A Canadian volley mistake handed the match to Nadal 6-4 7-6 (7) 6-4.

A pretty complete performance put Rafa Nadal into a semi final to play Dimitrov.

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