Raonic downs Monfils, sets up Australian Open semis clash with Murray

Melbourne, Jan 27 (IANS) Milos Raonic became the first Canadian tennis player to reach the Australian Open semi-finals, defeating Gael Monfils 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 here on Wednesday.

The Canadian set up a semi-final clash with Andy Murray, who earlier beat David Ferrer at Melbourne Park.

Raonic benefited from tentative play by Monfils in the fourth game to break for a 3-1 lead. Raonic wrapped up the first set in 35 minutes.

Monfils raised his level in the second set, though, and was rewarded with a service break in the sixth game. The Frenchman then saved a break point in the ninth game before holding on to level the match.

Raonic struck immediately in the third set and his early break proved decisive as he went on to reclaim the lead in the contest. A break in the fifth game of the fourth set put the Canadian well on his way to claiming victory in two hours and 17 minutes having hit 46 winners to 35 unforced errors.

Raonic has a 3-3 head-to-head record against Murray, beating the two-time Grand Slam champion most recently in Indian Wells two years ago.

The 25-year-old Raonic is bidding to reach his first Grand Slam final.

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