BRISBANE – Defending champion Milos Raonic beat former world No. 1 Rafa Nadal in three sets Friday to reach the Brisbane International semifinals.
The big-serving Canadian blasted 50 winners, including 23 aces, to overcome the Spaniard 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and set up a last-four clash with seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov.
Raonic booked a semifinal against Dimitrov who beat Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
World No. 4 Stan Wawrinka survived aggressive hitting from Briton Kyle Edmund before winning 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-4 in another quarterfinal.
Swiss Wawrinka will meet Kei Nishikori in the semis after the Japanese third seed’s 6-1, 6-1 win over local favorite Jordan Thompson.
On the women’s side, Alize Cornet reached her biggest final in over two years after an “exhausted” Garbine Muguruza withdrew from their semifinal.
The unseeded Frenchwoman was leading her Spanish opponent 4-1 in the first set when Muguruza decided she couldn’t continue.
Cornet will now play third seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova in the final. Pliskova advanced in impressive style when she beat Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-2, 6-4.
In Auckland, Croatian Ana Konjuh overpowered German Julia Goerges 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 at the Auckland Classic Friday to reach her second career WTA final.
The eighth seed will meet American Lauren Davis in the final after seventh-seeded Jelena Ostapenko retired trailing 4-1 in the third set due to illness.
Riske in Shenzhen final
In Shenzhen, Alison Riske advanced to the Shenzhen Open final for the second straight year by beating Camila Giorgi 6-3, 6-3 Friday in the semifinals.
The eighth-seeded American will try to win her second career title against Katerina Siniakova. The Czech defeated third-seeded Johanna Konta 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Aussie in fixing scandal
A match-fixing charge in Australia has underlined concerns about corruption in tennis ahead of the year’s opening Grand Slam, with top players frustrated at another scandal hitting the sport.
Police said an 18-year-old had been charged with match-fixing at a tournament in Victoria last October and would appear in court in March.
Australian media Friday named him as Oliver Anderson, an emerging star who is the reigning Australian Open boys champion. – Agencies