Sports / Updates
Thursday, 26 Jan 2017 14:51 EATtmatalanga@kenyafreepress.com
A first grand slam final in six years between tennis titans Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer draws ever closer after Rafael Nadal beat Milos Raonic. Nadal had a difficult time but overcame the third-seed Canadian in straight sets 6-4 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 to reach a first grand slam semifinal since winning his ninth French Open crown in 2014.
Raonic's chances dissipated once Nadal had saved six set points in the second set. The 2014 champion in Melbourne, Stan Wawrinka, and a surging Grigor Dimitrov are likeable enough chaps but not many will want them to play party poopers when they respectively challenge Federer and Nadal in the last four.
Nadal said he isn't thinking about a potential encounter with Federer just yet.
The all-Swiss tussle between pals Federer who missed the last five months of 2016 as he recovered from a knee injury and Wawrinka will kick off the men's semi-finals at Melbourne Park on Thursday, with Nadal facing Dimitrov a day later.
The head-to-head records ,18-3 to Federer and 6-2 to Nadal suggest they are the favorites to reach Sunday's final but Wawrinka will have a point to prove after a dismal performance against the 17-time grand slam winner when they met at the 2015 US Open. "Let me enjoy today, the victory, being in a semifinal, for me it's great news again. It's a good start of the season," Nadal told reporters.
He added: "Now I have a very tough match against Dimitrov. What happens on the other side of the draw, I think it's great for tennis that Roger is there again after an injury."
Matalanga is a student of journalism at the East Africa School of Media Studies and an intern writer at the Kenya Free Press.