Tennis round-up: Raonic blasts past Nadal in Brisbane, Federer flawless at Hopman Cup

A round-up of Friday’s ATP and WTA action from around the world as both the men’s and women’s tours continue their preparations for the Australian Open.

Milos Raonic fought from a set down to beat Rafael Nadal and remain on course to defend his Brisbane International title. The Canadian world No 3 takes on Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in the semi-finals. Dave Hunt / EPA
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A round-up of Friday’s ATP and WTA action from around the world as both the men’s and women’s tours continue their preparations for the Australian Open.

Brisbane International

Defending champion Milos Raonic beat former world No 1 Rafa Nadal in three sets on Friday to reach the Brisbane International semi-finals.

The big-serving Canadian blasted 50 winners, including 23 aces, to overcome the Spaniard 4-6 6-3 6-4 and set up a last-four clash with seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov.

Returning from a wrist injury, Nadal took the first set but momentum swung at 3-3 in the second when Raonic claimed four straight games.

Raonic capitalised on an early break in the decider and served out to book a semi-final against Dimitrov who beat Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-3 4-6 6-3.

World No 4 Stan Wawrinka survived aggressive hitting from Briton Kyle Edmund before winning 6-7(2) 6-4 6-4 in another quarter-final.

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Edmund cruised through the first set tiebreak before Wawrinka, making his Brisbane debut, raised his game to beat the world number 51.

Swiss Wawrinka will meet Kei Nishikori in the semis after the Japanese third seed’s 6-1 6-1 win over local favourite Jordan Thompson.

In the women’s event, world No 6 Karolina Pliskova beat Elina Svitolina 6-2 6-4 and will play Alize Cornet in the final.

Pliskova could go to No 5 in the world rankings if she beats Cornet in the final on Saturday

Unseeded Frenchwoman Cornet reached her first final in nearly three years after Spanish fourth seed Garbine Muguruza was forced to retire due to injury.

Hopman Cup

Roger Federer’s comeback gained momentum when he produced an almost flawless performance to beat French veteran Richard Gasquet at the mixed teams Hopman Cup.

After being beaten by Alexander Zverev in his previous singles match in the tournament, Federer bounced back to thrash the 18th-ranked Gasquet in straight sets in under an hour.

The Hopman Cup is the 35-year-old’s first tournament since a six-month layoff due to knee and back injuries.

The 17-time grand slam champion barely missed a groundstroke, getting his first break of serve in the fourth game of the match and dominating proceedings from that point on.

He also sent down 11 aces in nine service games, winning 6-1, 6-4 in 56 minutes.

Gasquet had been in good touch heading into the match, beating Zverev and Dan Evans, both in straight sets.

Meanwhile, Zverev continued his impressive build-up for the Australian Open with a straight-sets win over Dan Evans.

Britain’s Evans beat Zverev at last year’s US Open, but he couldn’t repeat the feat against the 19-year-old German.

Auckland Classic

Croatian Ana Konjuh overpowered German Julia Goerges 6-3 4-6 6-3 at the Auckland Classic to reach her second career WTA final.

The eighth seed will meet American Lauren Davis in the final after seventh-seeded Jelena Ostapenko retired trailing 4-1 in the third set due to illness.

The unseeded Goerges shocked former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the quarter-finals but Konjuh ensured there was not another shock at the tournament in which top seed Serena Williams was upset by fellow American Madison Brengle.

Ostapenko took the first set against Davis 6-4 before the American levelled the match and the Latvian was unable to continue after falling behind in the decider.

“I woke up with a fever, with coughing and everything. I feel much worse today than yesterday,” Ostapenko said.

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