Australian Open: Rafael Nadal downs Milos Raonic to set up Dimitrov clash in semis

rafal3Melbourne: Ninth seed and 2009 champion Rafael Nadal overcame third seed Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6(7), 6-4 in their Australian Open quarter-final here on Wednesday.

He will play No.15 seed Grigor Dimitrov, a straight-sets winner over No.11 seed David Goffin, on Friday.

Nadal targeted Raonic's backhand early on, a tactic from fellow Mallorcan Carlos Moya, a former World No.1 and Raonic's former coach now working with Nadal, reports

Raonic saved one break point in the fifth game, but lost his serve by striking an overhead long to gift Nadal a 4-3 lead.

Nadal's 12 winners, nine of 10 net points won, and just two unforced errors highlighted a dominant display in the 43-minute opening set.

Raonic took an off-court medical time-out when he led 3-2 in the second set.

Read more: Federer cruises through to Australian Open semis

Nadal suddenly lost his confidence from there, and at 4-5 he recovered to save three set points.

Two stunning pieces of anticipation at 3-3 in the second set tie-break helped Raonic open a lead, but more set point chances went begging at 6-4 and 7-6.

Three straight forehand errors by Raonic saw him walk to his chair after a pulsating 81-minute second set, which Nadal eventually claimed.

Raonic recently beat the 14-time Grand Slam champion in the quarter-finals of the recent Brisbane International.