Facing each other for the tenth time, the seven-time Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic grabbed the tenth victory over Milos Raonic, beating the Canadian 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 in two hours and 49 minutes. Novak advanced to his eighth Australian Open semi-final, never losing in Melbourne after passing the quarter-final round and setting the clash against Roger Federer, 13 years after their first one down under.
Milos hit 18 aces, but he needed more to stay safe, facing 16 break points and doing a fine job of defending 14, getting broken once in sets one and two and falling in the third set tie break to propel Novak through. Djokovic had 29 winners and 14 unforced errors, dominating the longer rallies and missing the opportunity to finish the job earlier after wasting so many chances on the return.
Serving at 76% in the opener, Djokovic fended off a break chance in the seventh game and kept the pressure on Milos, creating nine opportunities for a break and taking the last one for 6-4. Raonic fired 12 winners and almost 20 unforced errors, working hard in nearly every service game and falling in the decisive moments to find himself a set down against the defending champion.
Serving at 1-2, Milos fended off three break chances to avoid an early setback, saving another one at 2-3 after a backhand slice error from Djokovic and creating an opportunity of his own in the game that followed.
Novak Djokovic defeated Milos Raonic to reach the Australian Open semi-final.
Novak saved it with a good serve and threatened again in the next game, denied by an ace from Raonic, who held and leveled the score at 4-4 after three deuces.
Returning at 5-4, Novak finally clinched the break on the ninth chance, moving in front after 55 minutes and gaining a massive boost ahead of set number two. They both competed on a high level in set number two, with more winners than unforced errors, and it was Novak who had the upper hand with five comfortable service games and one break of serve that carried him through.
The Serb grabbed that break in the fourth game with a forehand winner, holding at love with a backhand down the line winner to cement the advantage and race into a 4-1 lead. The defending champion survived three deuces on serve in the seventh game and held at 15 in the tenth with a service winner to open two sets to love lead after 100 minutes.
Raising his level in the third set, Milos delivered three easy holds and created a break chance in game two following a backhand mistake from Novak, who saved a break chance with a service winner and held with an ace to keep his serve intact.
Raonic had to save four break points in the 11th game, staying on the positive side of the scoreboard until the tie break that Djokovic claimed 7-1 to seal the deal and move into the semis.