Milos Raonic upsets Rafael Nadal to reach BNP Paribas Open semis
Indian Wells ((United States), March 21 (IANS): Cananda's Milos Raonic beat three-time champion Rafael Nadal 4-6, 7-6 (10), 7-5 for the first time in six career meetings in a nearly three-hour marathon of the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament to set up a semi-final showdown with Roger Federer.
World No. 6 Raonic fired 19 aces and saved six of his seven break points in the two-hour 58 minute match on Friday, reports Xinhua.
"I feel obviously all sorts of good," he said, "Obviously there was a lot of up and down through that match, and all I could ask of myself was just keep competing and hope to find a way. I got fortunate a few times and it worked out."
Nadal took advantage and a break in the third game was enough to seal the first set. The Canadian was committing 14 unforced errors and only finding 52 percent of first serves, which was the biggest weapon in his game.
Raonic was under pressure again in the second set but things got more complicated for both players. They duelled in the second set tie-breaker, which had the crowd on the edge of their seats.
The Spaniard held three match points but he committed errors on two of them and Raonic smashed a winner on the other.
The Canadian also had plenty of chances in the tie-breaker, finally converting on his fifth set point when Nadal netted a shot.
Nadal was denied a break point in the sixth game of the third set and came close to victory again. He ultimately paid the price for his missed opportunities. Raonic finally earned a crucial break to go up 6-5 and a chance to serve out the match.
"I had more opportunities than him in the first, in the second, and in the third, too. I am happy the way I played. I am happy the way that I competed today. I am happy the way that I stayed in a level during the whole match. I am not happy that I lost," Nadal said, smiling.
The 24-year-old Raonic prevented Novak Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Andy Murray, the world's top four-ranked players, from reaching the semi-finals together at the same tournament since the 2012 Australian Open.
The Canadian star will now play four-time champion Federer in the semi-final after the Swiss comfortably beat Czech Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-0. The other semi-final features world No.1 Djokovic against Murray in a rematch of the Australian Open final.