Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada's Milos Raonic Beats Gael Monfils to Reach Australian Open Semifinal

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada's Milos Raonic Beats Gael Monfils to Reach Australian Open Semifinal

Article excerpt

Raonic reaches Australian Open semifinal


MELBOURNE, Australia - Canada's Milos Raonic has made significant changes to his game since the last time he played Andy Murray. It should add an interesting wrinkle to his Australian Open semifinal against the second-seeded Scot.

Raonic reached the final four in Melbourne for the first time Wednesday with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Gael Monfils of France. The 25-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., who made his only other Grand Slam semifinal appearance at Wimbledon in 2014, will take a nine-game winning streak into Friday's matchup with Murray, who beat Spain's David Ferrer 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-3.

The Canadian already has one of the most impressive power games on the men's tour. He has made improvements to his volley game of late and it paid off with a title victory at the recent Brisbane International.

Murray, meanwhile, has one of the best return games in the sport and has risen to No. 2 in the world rankings, 12 positions higher than Raonic. They are 4-4 in career head-to-head matches, with Murray winning their last two meetings -- in 2015 at Madrid and late 2014 in London.

"As much as I look back on it, even before I went on court today I was paying attention to what he was doing," Raonic said. "Because far from where we were 14 months ago, we're both very different and I think improved players from then.

"So I have certain aspects that I would like to manipulate and use my game in, and I'm sure he's going to try to do a lot of different things too. I think it's going to be a race to who can get in the comfort zone of themselves first."

Raonic is the second Canadian singles player to reach the Australian Open semifinals. The other is Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., who did it in 2014.

He's also just the second Canadian to reach a Grand Slam men's singles semifinal after Robert Powell did it in 1908 at Wimbledon.

Raonic beat Murray on clay in Barcelona in 2012 and they split their hardcourt matches that year at the U.S. Open and in Japan. Raonic also beat Murray on the Indian Wells hardcourt in 2014 and both have a walkover win over the other as well.

"I have a great challenge ahead of me, but I believe I can find a solution," Raonic said. …

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