Friday, 6 January 2017

Raonic firing in Brisbane

Unfortunately, Garbine Muguruza was forced out of the Brisbane International after trailing Alize Cornet 1-4 in the first set of the first semi final.  Hopefully the thigh injury does not affect the remainder of her Australian Summer, especially the Aus Open.  Meanwhile, Cornet awaits the winner of tonight's second semi between Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina.

That match will follow the intriguing quarter final battle which Milos Raonic and Rafa Nadal have just served up.
Initially it was the Spaniard calling the shots, his crisp forcing ground shots and ability to return the big Canadian serve, enough to cause an early service break.  That was sufficient to claim the opening set, as the Nadal serve was solid, the single break point against it saved without trouble.

Set two saw the Raonic serve become more potent, but it's effect on the match diluted through a spate of poor volleying choices and technique.  However, despite some close calls, no breaks of serve eventuated for seven games.  In fact just two break points had been created, both on the Raonic delivery, and both saved.

The eighth game was the match changer - Raonic played some delightful shots, sending Nadal so wide on occasion that he ended up in some of Brisbane's outer suburbs.  The break came, and then a service hold to behold.
The match was tied at a set apiece.

The momentum now so much with Canada continued into the deciding set and Rafa lost his second serve in succession.  At 2-1 and 30-30, a superb attacking lob winner from Nadal gave him a break point and a chance to level, but Raonic had the immediate answer.
Serves were held and soon it was 4-3 with Raonic at the line again.  Four tracer bullets left Nadal powerless to contribute and the top seed was a game away from a semi final.  23 aces now for Milos.
Nadal held serve, but Raonic had no problem completing the win 4-6 6-3 6-4.

His semi final opponent will be Grigor Dimitrov, who survived a three setter himself against fourth seed Dominic Thiem.
The other semi final sees Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori cross swords.  They held too many weapons for their unseeded opponents, Kyle Edmund and Jordan Thompson, although Stan did drop the opening set tie break on the way to his victory.

In other tournamnents Lauren Davis and eighth seed Ana Konjuh will contest the Auckland final after semi final wins over Ostapenko and Goerges respectively.

The Shenzhen final will be fought out between Katerina Siniakova and eighth seed Alison Riske.  Siniakova upset the highest ranked player left in the draw, Johanna Konta, after losing the first set 1-6, and Riske eliminated Camila Giorgi in a standard two setter.

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