Novak Djokovic Defeats Milos Raonic, Advances to 2020 Australian Open Semis

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJanuary 28, 2020

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 28: Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a backhand during his Men’s Singles Quarterfinal match against Milos Raonic of Canada on day nine of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 28, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/Getty Images)
Morgan Hancock/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic continued his title defence at the 2020 Australian Open on Tuesday after defeating quarter-final opponent Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (1).

The Serb stormed to his 10th career victory against Raonic without defeat and remained on course to extend his record tally of seven Grand Slam titles in Melbourne.

Djokovic has secured back-to-back Australian Open semi-finals for the third time in his career and will face Roger Federer, who saved seven match points to beat Tennys Sandgren 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-3.

Raonic carried some expectation into the quarter-final despite his No. 32 seeding, having already knocked out No. 6 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and Marin Cilic—both in straight sets.

The 29-year-old's powerful serve was always the platform upon which he was likely to structure his match, but even that portion of his game proved of little danger to his opponent.

Tennis writer Chris Goldsmith underlined Raonic's struggle to establish a foothold in the game:

Djokovic unleashed his cross-court backhand on numerous occasions, with his foe frequently left watching as the ball fell just inside the line.

Raonic did well to delay the first break, but Djokovic finally converted with his ninth opportunity—he saw four in the 10th game alone—to edge the first set despite Raonic playing some great tennis up to that point.

As is so often the case against the world No. 2, however, it was Djokovic's mostly error-free play that beat the Canadian: 

Break-point chances continued to fall in favour of Djokovic, who looked mostly undisturbed on his own serve. The first break of the set came earlier this time around as the Serb capitalised at the 12th time of asking to lead 3-1.

Some rallies demonstrated Raonic's ability to go toe-to-toe, but BBC 5 Live commentator David Law noted even his efforts looked a class below on the day:

Djokovic successfully served out the remainder of the set to win 6-3, and Metro's George Bellshaw teased a potentially historic meeting with six-time Australian Open champion, Federer:

Djokovic contributed one ace during the second set—four fewer than his opponent—but was clinical in all other areas, namely clinching the only break to increase his set lead to 2-0.

There was concern for Djokovic when he called a stop to play at four games apiece to change his contact lens, per Live Tennis:

The problem with his right eye appeared to affect Djokovic somewhat returning, and Raonic responded by defending four break points in an 18-point game to lead 6-5 in the third. It didn't hinder him on his own serve, however, as Djokovic ripped past Raonic without conceding to draw level.

The favourite continued to raise his game when it counted most and quickly raced to a 3-0 lead in the tiebreak. Much like the match itself, that early deficit proved too great for Raonic to overcome as Djokovic forced his way past the finish line.

A third-set delay briefly looked as though it might offer Raonic a much-needed lifeline, but even that proved insufficient as Djokovic secured his 10th career win over the Canadian to book a semi-final date with Federer.

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