AFP Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Jan 25, 2017, 09.10 PM
Rafael Nadal prevailed over Canadian Milos Raonic in straight sets to set up an Australian Open semi-final clash with 15th-seed Grigor Dimitrov.
The 14-time grand slam champion beat the injury-hit world number three Raonic 6-4, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 in two hours 44 minutes, to move just a step away from setting up another eagerly-awaited summit match with his old rival Roger Federer.
Dimitrov beat David Goffin in straight sets to advance to the semi-finals, continuing with his fine start to the season.
But Nadal, who enjoys a 7-1 head-to-head with Dimitrov, preferred to focus on his next match than think of playing Federer in the final.
"Let me enjoy today, the victory, being in semi-final. For me is great news again. It's a good start of the season," he told reporters.
"Now I have a very tough match against Dimitrov.
"Whatever happens on the other side of the draw, I think it is great for tennis that Roger is there again after an injury, after a lot of people talked that probably he would never be back.
"The real thing is that he's back and he's probably ready to win again, fighting again to win a major.
"That's good for the fans because Roger is a legend of our sport. I am happy to be there, too. I am focused on my semi-final."
It was another accomplished performance from the 30-year-old Spaniard who reached his first Grand Slam semi-final since he won the 2014 French Open, and struggled with injury last year.
"Great. It's good news. Especially winning against difficult players: (Gael) Monfils in quarter-finals, (Alexander) Zverev round of 16 and now Raonic," Nadal said.
"All of them are top players. So that's very important for me because that means that I am competitive and playing well.
"I'm so just excited about being back in final rounds of the most important events."