Nadal out slugs Raonic to reach Miami semis

Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:30pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

MIAMI (Reuters) - World number one Rafa Nadal took another step towards a first Miami title by out-slugging big-hitting Canadian Milos Raonic 4-6 6-2 6-4 on Thursday to reach the semi-finals of the Sony Open.

Nadal, a three-time runner-up on the Miami hardcourts, will play seventh seed Tomas Berdych for a place in Sunday's final after the Czech eased into the last four with 6-4 7-6 (3) win over Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov.

The other semi-final will see world number two Novak Djokovic take on Japan's Kei Nishikori, who has already beaten fourth seed David Ferrer and 17-time grand slam winner Roger Federer.

Nadal's resume includes 62 career titles, including two this year but the Miami trophy has consistently eluded the 13-time grand slam winner.

The Spaniard, however, has been in brilliant form in Miami appearing determined to correct that oversight.

"It's a very important victory for me," said Nadal. "Very hard to play against these kind of players and especially when the match didn't start the way that you would like.

"When you start losing opportunities, you feel that you are going to be in trouble, because one game he going to play aggressive and you will be in his hands, and the next thing is that game arrived,

"I was lucky at the beginning of the second set I started with a break and was very important for me.   Continued...

Mar 27, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Rafael Nadal hits a forehand against Milos Raonic (not pictured) on day eleven of the Sony Open at Crandon Tennis Center. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports