Thu, Jan 26, 9:59am by Head Editor
Rafa is back, ending the campaign of the highest seed left in the men’s draw, Canadian Milos Raonic in straight sets to reach his fifth Australian Open semi-final.
The 30-year-old Spaniard is known as one of the greatest competitors in World tennis and he proved that yet again on Wednesday by turning the tables on his conqueror of just two weeks ago at the Brisbane International.
Nadal’s experience and patience shone through when it mattered on Wednesday though, beating Raonic 6-4 7-6(7) 6-4. The 9th seed breaking the 196cm giant only twice for the entire match.
The victory sets up a primetime Friday Night Semi-Final against 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov, who unlike Nadal, has gone about his business with little fanfare.
The lack of attention on Dimitrov may account for the lopsided betting market too, with the Bulgarian at the juicy odds of $2.87 to make his first final in Melbourne.
Nadal is a short-priced favourite at $1.40 to reach his second decider in four years after he was bundled out in the first-round last year and the quarter final the year before that.
A straight-sets winner over David Goffin earlier on Wednesday, the Bulgarian has dropped only two sets all tournament and after winning the Brisbane International just two weeks ago, is on a ten-match winning streak.
In his seventh Australian Open campaign, he cruised past 11th seed David Goffin on Wednesday to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final since Wimbledon in 2014. He also made the quarterfinal at Melbourne Park in that year but he’s never made it to a semi-final at this tournament before.
As the match progressed, Dimitrov increased his tempo and eventually Goffin ran out of answers. 46 unforced errors and some mediocre serving didn’t help Goffin’s cause either.
Similar to what we saw in the single’s draw, the top seeds in both the men’s and women’s doubles crashed out in the quarterfinals as Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France lost in the Men’s doubles 6-7(2), 6-2, 4-6 against unseeded duo Marc Polmans and Andrew Whittington.
In the women’s competition, it was a similar story as French top seeds Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia lost in straight sets to Andrea Hlavackova of Czech Republic and Peng Shuai of China 6-7(4), 2-6.
Suggested Bet: Take Nadal to win in four sets: $3.60
Day 12 – Australian Open Odds – Sportsbet
R Nadal $1.40 v G Dimitrov $2.87
A Hlavackova/ S Peng $2.27 v B Mattek-Sands/ L Safaraova ($1.58)
*All the above odds are provided by Sportsbet and were correct at the time of publishing
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