The Canadian beat World No 3 Rafael to reach his first ever Indian Wells semi-final
Indian Wells (United States): Milos Raonic crashed the Big Four party with a hard-fought three-set win over World No 3 Rafael Nadal to reach the Indian Wells ATP Masters semi-finals.
Canada’s Raonic beat Nadal for the first time. He blasted 19 aces, hammered a series of thunderous forehands and saved three match points to upset the Spaniard 4-6, 7-6 (12/10), 7-5 and set up a semi-final clash with Roger Federer.
The 24-year-old’s shocking win over nine-time French Open champ Nadal spoils what could have been a semi-final lineup that featured each of the top four seeds as World No 1 Novak Djokovic and fourth seed Andy Murray had already punched their tickets.
Point to prove
“You just want to prove people wrong in that sense,” Raonic said of being the spoiler. “It has some good feel to it.” Raonic had lost five prior matches against the swashbuckling Spaniard and said he had to forget about who he was playing against and just figure out what he had to do to play each point better.
Rafael Nadal. Pic/ AFP
He said the key to beating Nadal was to “not get too caught up in the person you’re playing and respect them, but not give them too much overwhelming respect where it affects your tennis.
“I think when you have knowledge, when you have an understanding, it gives you some kind of peace,” he said.
Four-time champ Federer turned in a textbook performance in just over an hour showing no mercy with a 6-4, 6-0 win over pesky Czech Tomas Berdych in a quarter-final match that took just 68 minutes.
Federer has the edge
Federer is 8-1 in his career against Raonic. “It’s having a better match judgement of when to sort of step up, when you can sort of hold back,” Raonic said. “It gives you some kind of calm during a match that you can really believe and understand what you need to do to find the solutions.”