Milos Raonic reaches semifinal of Australian Open

The Canadian Press
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Milos Raonic of Canada celebrates after defeating Gael Monfils of France in their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016.

Milos Raonic wrote more Canadian tennis history Wednesday when he defeated Gael Monfils 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 at the Australian Open to earn a spot in his second career Grand Slam semifinal.

The 25-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., who also reached the final four at Wimbledon in 2014, will next play four-time finalist Andy Murray. The second-ranked Scot earlier beat eighth-seed David Ferrer of Spain 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3. Raonic is 4-4 in matches against Murray.

“I have a great challenge ahead of me, but I believe I can find a solution,” Raonic said. “I'll put in a great effort, I can't wait to make the most of this opportunity.”

Raonic is the first Canadian man to go this far in Melbourne and just the second Canadian man or woman to reach the semifinals here after Eugenie Bouchard did so in 2014.

Raonic remains just the second Canadian man to reach a Grand Slam semifinal after Robert Powell at 1908 Wimbledon.

With the victory over Monfils, Raonic stretched his 2016 winning steak to nine matches to equal his all-time best from 2012.

Raonic, who didn't show any emotion during the match until the final point, was out-aced by Monfils 14 to 10 in a match lasting just over two hours.

The Canadian took 35 minutes to win the opening set against Monfils, who had won both previous matches versus Raonic.

Raonic suffered his only break of serve in the second set to drop it, but powered back to sweep the third and fourth for victory.

“I just credit the win to perseverance, I had opportunities even in the set I lost,” Raonic said, “I told myself just to keep creating chances and hopefully they will go your way.”

The match was played with the roof of the Rod Laver Arena closed after rainstorms passed through Melbourne in late afternoon. That suited Raonic, who grew up learning the game indoors.

“This was ideal for me. I'm used to this and I thought I played great tennis. Playing indoors also gave me some peace of mind.”

Raonic was supported by hundreds of Canadian fans waving Maple Leaf flags in the stands.

“It's an amazing feeling. tennis is growing quickly in Canada and to be a big part of that is an honour.”

Top-seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia and No. 3 Roger Federer of Switzerland will contest the other semifinal on Thursday.

The men's final is on Sunday.

Organizations: Australian Open

Geographic location: Canada, Wimbledon, Melbourne Thornhill Maple Leaf Serbia Switzerland

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