Grigor Dimitrov, Rafael Nadal win to set up semifinals clash
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) The Latest on Wednesday from the Australian Open (all times local):
Rafael Nadal has beaten Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6 (7), 6-4 to reach the Australian Open semifinals, returning to the last four at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since winning the 2014 French Open.Nadal's return ensures there'll be three 30-somethings in the men's semifinals, equaling 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.
The women's semifinals also contain three 30-somethings with the Williams sisters (Venus, 36, and Serena, 35) and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 34.
The win over Raonic was Nadal's 50th at Melbourne Park, where he won title in 2009 and lost in the final in 2012 and '14.
The 30-year-old Spaniard saved six set points in the second set, including two in the 13-minute tiebreaker.
Nadal lost in the first round here last year and had extended injury layoffs before and after the U.S. Open to let his left wrist recover from injury.
Raonic last year reached the Australian Open semifinals, when he was hampered by a hip injury and lost to Andy Murray after leading by two sets-to-one, and went on to reach the final at Wimbledon.
He improved to a career-high year-end No. 3 ranking and beat Nadal in three sets in the quarterfinals at the tuneup event in Brisbane earlier in the month.
Grigor Dimitrov had a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 11 David Goffin on Wednesday to reach the Australian Open semifinals, returning to the last four at a major for the first time since Wimbledon in 2014.It was the No. 15-seeded Dimitrov's fifth win from as many meetings with Goffin. He's on a roll in Australia after winning the Brisbane International tuneup tournament ahead of the season's first major.
Dimitrov said he'd be watching on TV later Wednesday to see who he plays next. Rafael Nadal, the 14-time major winner, was playing No. 3-ranked Milos Raonic in the night match.
Serena Williams' progress to the Australian Open semifinals means players aged 36 (her sister, Venus Williams), 35 and 34 (her opponent Mirjana Lucic-Baroni) will play off for two places in the final.
Serena Williams says ''30s is the new 10!''
''No matter what happens, somebody 34 or older will be in the final,'' the 22-time major winner said after her 6-2, 6-3 win over Johanna Konta. ''That's great.''
Serena Williams and Lucic-Baroni will play the second of the semifinals on Thursday, following Venus Williams against her fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe, who is 25.
On the men's side, 35-year-old Roger Federer is back in the semifinals after six months on the sidelines recovering from a knee injury.
Serena Williams is still on track for an Open-era record 23rd Grand Slam title after beating ninth-seeded Johanna Konta 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. The 35-year-old Serena Williams will next meet the No. 79-ranked, 34-year-oldMirjana Lucic-Baroni, who beat Karolina Pliskova in three sets earlier on Rod Laver Arena to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in nearly 18 years. Lucic Baroni lost that Wimbledon semifinal in 1999 to 22-time major winner Steffi Graf.
The 36-year-old Venus Williams set up a semifinal against fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe with a quarterfinal win the previous day. The Williams sisters were seeded No. 1 and No. 2 when they met in the 2003 Australian Open final. Serena Williams won the title, the first of her six in Australia. Venus Williams hasn't returned to a final at Melbourne Park.
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni has beaten U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 at the Australian Open to reach her first semifinal at a Grand Slam tournament since Wimbledon in 1999.The No. 79-ranked, 34-year-old Lucic-Baroni won the first set and got an early break in the second, before Pliskova had medical timeout and then went on a roll to win the second set and level the match.
After an exchange of service breaks in the third set, Pliskova took a 4-3 lead and Lucic-Baroni had a medical timeout for what appeared to be a leg problem.
She won the next eight points to hold and break Pliskova, then closed out with a calm service game.
Lucic-Baroni will play the winner of the later quarterfinal between Serena Williams and Johanna Konta.
The Australian Open quarterfinal between U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova and 34-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni is going to a third set.
No. 79-ranked Lucic-Baroni, aiming to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal since Wimbledon in 1999, took the first set with a service break in the last game.
After Lucic-Baroni broke again for a 2-0 lead in the second, Pliskova took a medical time out for treatment on her right foot.
The No. 5-seeded Pliskova, who beat Serena Williams in the semifinals at the U.S. Open last year before losing to Angelique Kerber in the final, rallied to win the second set 6-3.
Serena Williams, aiming for a record 23rd Grand Slam title, was playing a quarterfinal later Wednesday against Johanna Konta.