Australian Open 2019: Lucas Pouille defeats Milos Raonic to reach the semifinal. Lucas Pouille reached his first Grand Slam semifinal with a victory of 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-4. XVI seed of Milos Raonic at the Australian Open.
The Frenchman won his first victory over the Canadian in four attempts and will face the world number one, Novak Djokovic, for a place in the final.
Djokovic was 6-1 4-1 ahead against Kei Nishikori when the Japanese withdrew.
The other men’s semifinal will be between the 17-time winner Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.
“I went very well with the returns and kept my service almost the whole game,” said Pouille, 28th seeder, whose trainer Amelie Mauresmo worked with Andy Murray from 2014 to 2016.
“I did not win a game before coming here, now I’m in the semifinal, so I’m very happy.”
“We continue to work hard, even after all the games that I lost in the Hopman Cup, I decided to go step by step and give everything I have in each point.” Pouille entered the world’s top 20 in 2016 after reaching the last eight. At Wimbledon and US Open, however, he fought in 2018, and failed to advance beyond the third round of any of the majors.
On reaching this match, the 24-year-old lost his only game at the Sydney International and his three goals in the recent Hopman Cup.
When he lost Raonic 5-2 in the first set, it looked like the Frenchman was ready for another loss in Australia, but he fought not only to level the scores but also to take the tiebreaker.
Pouille grew in confidence and broke the 2016 semifinalist in the fourth game of the second set with an excellent pitch on the way to establish a two-set lead.
The contest turned to the Canadian in the third set, as he saved four break points before sweeping aside with Pouille in a tie-break on one side only.
The fourth set was with serve until the tenth game, when Raonic, after saving three match points, sent a volley to announce the victory of Pouille.
“I really wanted to come back as well as possible and make him play, I took care of my service and did not push much,” added Pouille.
“We had a plan and all the points where I stayed focused and in the plan we decided yesterday, it was a great game.” Tsitsipas beat Federer in four sets in the fourth round on Sunday and promised to “do something good” against Nadal in a long-awaited semifinal, but the Spaniard was too powerful for the Greek, giving him little chance to become the third man to beat Federer and Nadal in an important race.
The semifinal was as comfortable for Nadal as the score suggests 6-2 6-4 6-0. The 17-time Grand Slam champion served brilliantly (he has yet to lose a single set in this tournament) to advance to the 25th grand slam final of an extraordinary career, five short of Federer’s historic record.
“It felt like a completely different dimension of tennis,” Tsitsipas told reporters after the game.
In the current form, Nadal will prove to be a formidable enemy in the final, whether for Novak Djokovic or Lucas Pouille, who will play each other on Friday in the semifinal of the other men.Australian Open 2019