Nadal Sets Raonic Quarterfinal Clash

MELBOURNE, January 23, 2017

Rafael Nadal has advanced to the stage of the final eight at a Grand Slam for the 30th time, taking sole ownership of sixth place on the list for most major quarterfinals reached in the Open Era ahead of Pete Sampras.

The 30-year-old Spaniard edged past Frenchman Gael Monfils on Rod Laver Arena in Monday’s night session of the Australian Open, winning 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Nadal closed the encounter after two hours and 55 minutes to face Milos Raonic next. The third seed from Canada overcame Roberto Bautista-Agut of Spain 7-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

“For me means a lot. I am able to start the season playing quarterfinals in a Grand Slam again, especially on hard court after a couple of years without being in this round is a great news. I am very happy with an important victory against a very good opponent,” Nadal was pleased with his performance.

“Playing against Milos will be tough. He’s an opponent who makes you feel that his playing with a lot of pressure all the time because his serve is huge and he’s playing very aggressive from the baseline. So it is going to be a very tough match.”

Nadal and Raonic will meet for the ninth time, with the Spaniard leading 6-2 in head-to-head records. The last two matches, however, went in favour for the Canadian, who beat Nadal in Brisbane this year.

David Goffin has become the first Belgian man to reach the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. The 26-year-old Belgian knocked out the tournament’s number eight Dominic Thiem from Austria to earn his first win over a Top-10 player at a Grand Slam. Goffin hit 15 aces and won 73 per cent of his first service points to secure a 5-7, 7-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory in two hours and 43 minutes.

“I feel tired, but feeling so happy. It was a really good match,” Goffin told. “I started the match really well. It was not easy to control the ball because the first two sets it was really sunny and the ball, it was bouncing really high. I’m feeling so happy that I found my way to find a solution in the second set. I served really well. Then I played two really good sets the third and the fourth. It was a big fight, so I’m feeling really good.”

Goffin will next take on Grigor Dimitrov. The 25-year-old from Bulgaria ended the successful run of Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, winning 2-6, 7-6, 6-2, 6-1 in two hours and 24 minutes.

“It’s going to be a tough match, for sure, without a doubt. David is an excellent player,” Dimitrov is looking forward to the quarterfinals clash. “In a way I know what to expect from him. We’ve practiced against each other a few times this off-season. And he’s a very dangerous player. I just need to be ready mentally and physically for the battle.”

Day 8 Highlights 
  • Mirjana Lucic-Baroni reaches her first Grand Slam quarter-final since 1999, ending qualifier Jennifer Brady’s inspiring run
  • Lucic-Baroni: “Eff everything and everyone who says you can’t do it”
  • Serena Williams survives Babora Strycova test to set up intriguing clash with Johanna Konta
  • Denis Istomin’s fairytale run comes to an end at the hands of Grigor Dimitrov
  • Rafael Nadal, Milos Raonic, David Goffin and Dimitrov come through botttom half
  • Karolina Pliskova ends the Aussie involvement in singles, powering past Daria Gavrilova

Day/Night Attendance: 42,881