Rafa renaissance continues as Nadal seals last-four spot

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Rafael Nadal's wait to be a grand slam semi-finalist again is over after he continued his fine form at the Australian Open to beat Milos Raonic 6-4 7-6 (9-7) 6-4.

The former world number one had not reached the last four of a major since the 2014 French Open - when he won his 14th slam crown - with quarter-final appearances in Melbourne and Paris his best since.

He was a first-round casualty last year at Melbourne Park, but the Spaniard has found his rhythm in 2017 and will meet Grigor Dimitrov for a place in Sunday's final.

Nadal was one set to the good after 43 minutes thanks to a string of crisp groundstrokes, the 30-year-old forcing errors from his opponent, who reached the last four here 12 months ago.

Raonic - who received treatment to his right thigh during the second set - should have levelled the match, but spurned six set points and that profligacy was punished by Nadal as he converted his only chance when the Canadian fired long.

And he faltered when serving to stay in the third set, too, as Nadal produced some jaw-dropping passing shots to break to love and bring up his 50th victory at the tournament where he was crowned champion in 2009.

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Nadal [9] bt Raonic [3] 6-4 7-6 (9-7) 6-4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 
Nadal - 40/21
Raonic - 39/32

ACES 
Nadal - 4
Raonic - 14

BREAK POINTS WON 
Nadal - 2/3
Raonic - 0/4

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE 
Nadal - 72
Raonic - 66

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE 
Nadal - 83/52
Raonic - 68/56

TOTAL POINTS 
Nadal - 117
Raonic - 95