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Reddit Milos Raonic.
Raonic was edged out by Roger Federer in the final, but the Canadian gained his revenge in , defeating the great Swiss in straight sets. That victory set the tone for a brilliant first half of the season, during which he reached the finals at Indian Wells, Queens, and Wimbledon- his first appearance at a major final.
The Brisbane top seed received a bye into the second round, where he was largely untroubled in a straight-sets dispatch of Argentinean, Diego Schwartzman. The defending champion expectedly faced a thorough examination in his quarter-final against Rafael Nadal, and he came through brilliantly, recovering from the loss of the first set to secure just his second victory in eight meetings against the Spaniard.
The stakes were far higher, and the pressure was truly on, and it was Raonic who held his nerve and executed better in the end. Raonic, at number 3, may be the higher-ranked of the two players, but Nadal had been the dominant player in this rivalry, and the Spaniard looked well on course to stretch his advantage when he took the first set in 51 minutes.
Nadal was the better player in the opening stages of the second set, creating opportunities, particularly in a nine-minute fifth game, as Raonic threatened to fall away.
The Canadian however dug deep to hang on to his serve in what would prove to be a pivotal game in the contest. The world number three was quick to point out the importance of his mental toughness at the most crucial stages of the encounter.
That kept me around.
With Nadal still reeling from the loss of the second set, Raonic took his chance in the decider, unfurling a flowing forehand winner down the line to move ahead in the set. The Canadian never relinquished that advantage, nor did he look like losing it, putting on a serving clinic to completely shut out Nadal.
Dimitrov looked set to justify all the hype surrounding him as a youngster when he reached the Wimbledon semi-finals, and subsequently rose to number eight in the world, but that remains a career high for the Bulgarian, and he has not been to a Grand Slam quarter final since that Wimbledon run.
Dimitrov ended at number 17 in the world, but that was after he had recovered from a wobbly little period when he threatened to melt away. It all started with the Istanbul final in May, where he suffered an astonishing meltdown against Diego Schwartzman. It took him a while to rediscover his bearings, losing five successive opening round matches and slipping to number 40 in the world, but the talented Bulgarian halted that slide just in time to prevent any further damage.
The high point of that resurgence was a final in Beijing, where he scored a terrific victory over Rafael Nadal before falling short against Andy Murray.
He also got to semi-finals in Cincinnati, Chengdu and Stockholm in the second half of the year.
Dimitrov plays well in Brisbane, with his best return being a runner-up finish in Dimitrov holds a advantage over Raonic in their head-to-head, but the last of those three meetings was at the Australian Open in , where the Bulgarian ran out a winner in four sets.
They also met in Brisbane in , with Dimitrov taking that one in straight sets. There were supposed to meet in Beijing last year, but Raonic withdrew because of an ankle problem. That shot has single-handedly decided many contests, and will again play a prominent role on Saturday.
He may not get away with it against Dimitrov. The athletic Bulgarian is not only rapid across the court; he is also a brilliant shot-maker, capable of generating winners from the most improbable positions.
In the first round for the men, Marin Cilic advanced and so did Ryan Harrison and Sam Querrey also made it through to the next round and some of the women's scores included Jelena Jankovic winning as well as Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber. Sabine Lisicki and Andrea Petkovic also advanced out of the first round and the three US women all lost their matches that were in action, while Williams is looking like the favorite after her strong
This is a tough match to call, one likely to go all the way, but Raonic, buoyed by his victory over Nadal, and his recent record in Brisbane, should just about edge another thriller in Brisbane. Top Stories.