Milos Raonic eliminated from Australian Open, in loss to Nadal
Milos Raonic after his quarterfinal loss to Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open on Jan. 25, 2017. (Dita Alangkara / AP)
Justin Bergman, The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, January 24, 2017 10:25PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 25, 2017 10:36AM EST
MELBOURNE, Australia - Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic limped out of the Australian Open on Wednesday, a nagging thigh injury flaring up during a quarter-final loss to Spanish star Rafael Nadal.
Raonic, the third-seed from Thornhill, Ont., was trying to repeat his best showing at the Grand Slam tournament by reaching the semifinals for a second straight year. He lost to Andy Murray in the 2016 semis.
Many wondered if this was Raonic's year after top-ranked Murray and No. 2 Novak Djokovic were upset in earlier rounds.
It has been a struggle from the beginning, however, as Raonic came down with a cold early in the tournament and was bed-ridden for a day. His timing seemed slightly off against Bautista Agut in the round of 16, when he racked up 55 unforced errors and even uncharacteristically hurled his racket to the court midway through the third set.
He appeared to be feeling better by Wednesday, but then had a recurrence an adductor injury in the 6-4, 7-6 (7), 6-4 loss to Nadal.
“These last two and half weeks have been quite difficult, just trying to manage everything,” he said. “First, dealing with the physical aspect, then getting myself quite ready, I thought, making the most of that. Then dealing with the health aspect and now with this.”
Raonic, 26, said he came into Melbourne nursing his thigh muscle after injuring it earlier this month in Brisbane.
“I got it to pretty good shape,” he said. “We still had to monitor it and then today I hurt another aspect of it.”
He required treatment on the leg in the second set Wednesday.
“I hope it's nothing too serious,” added Raonic, who has struggled with adductor problems in the past.
Raonic defeated Nadal in their last meeting, which came at the same tournament in Brisbane where Raonic said he tweaked his adductor.
This time, Raonic said, “he played better than I did.”
The 30-year-old Nadal saved six set points in the second set, including two in the 13-minute tiebreaker.
“There were some opportunities in the second set, other than that, there wasn't much for me to hold onto,” he said. “I thought he did some things well... He did something a little bit different than he normally does.
“I just wasn't able to push him back behind the baseline like I was a few weeks ago.”
Raonic has come close to a Grand Slam title several times only to see it slip away. He said he didn't want to ponder the fact that his goals have often been derailed by bad luck.
“I don't want to depress myself thinking about that too much right now,” he said.
Nadal returns to the final four at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since winning the 2014 French Open. His return ensures there will be three 30-somethings in the men's semifinals, equalling the Open era mark set at Roland Garros in 1968.
Nadal will play Grigor Dimitrov on Friday, the day after 35-year-old Roger Federer takes on 31-year-old Stan Wawrinka in an all-Swiss semifinal.