Australian Open: Djokovic beats Raonic to set up Federer semifinal

Highlights of the Australian Open quarterfinal match between Novak Djokovic and Milos Raonic.

Novak Djokovic takes on Milos Raonic in the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic takes on Milos Raonic in the Australian Open.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Key highlights of Australian Open 2020 quarterfinal match between Novak Djokovic and Milos Raonic.

An epic day which had two of the greatest of the hard-court game at the iconic Rod Laver Arena. While had to break through an impossible mountain, the Serbian emulated himself to become an unbreakable mountain himself! In a clash of the titans on Thursday, it once again Roger Federer v Novak Djokovic!

Let's just leave it here!

 

Despite his rocket-serves, Raonic fails to go past the phenomenon of Novak Djokovic who continues to grow in ultimate proportions! The Serb's all round ability - in the end - was too much for the Canadian who succumbs to a tenth loss against Djokovic in as many matches.

GAME, SET & MATCH! Here he goes into his eighth semi final at the Australian Open. And sets up a riveting clash against Roger Federer. The Serbian has never failed at the semi-finals and will now battle the 'Miracle Man' Federer in a mouth-watering prospect.

6-1, Match-point for Djokovic, what a player!

Tiebreak, 5-1, Djokovic makes a sumptuous feast for himself with a four-point lead.

4-1; Raonic puts it wide!

3-1; Djokovic fails to pass the backhand.

3-0; Djokovic

2-0 lead for Djokovic

Raonic can pray for a miracle now. His paltry returns are not enough to stun the Serb at this moment.

And it's a TIEBREAK - Djokovic makes it 6-6!

17:01 (IST): What a point! A sizzling drop-shot from Novak swirling forever in the air! Raonic still unable to make it!

16:59:  And finally, Raonic squeezes through. Raonic on the brink and stays alive with a 6-5 lead.

16:58 (IST): DEUCE #6

16:57 (IST): Big serve for Raonic!

Seven minutes on to this one! Raonic just can not see off Djokovic. Even as a minor Kyrptonite has weakened the Superman, he continues to become a misery for the Canadian.

16:54 (IST): Two hours and 36 minutes in to this clash!

16:51 (IST) - Break Point for Novak!

All-class! In a rally of wide-slices on either side, Novak has emerged with a mighty winner he makes it five-all!

16:46(IST): DEUCE! An awkward shot from Novak, looking a bit out of sorts.

16:45 (IST):Has Raonic got a potential chance to break? He looks to take advantage of Djokovic's problematic eyesight.

The Serbian is blinking his eyes incessantly, clearly having discomfort in watching the ball.

16:41 (IST): Raonic hold serve easily and puts himself a game away from snatching the set. At 5-4, will the Canadian finally break serve?

Ace Count - Raonic 14  Djokovic 3

16:39 (IST): Novak returns. The Serb will be hoping to draw curtains to this sooner than later. Raonic will be hoping against those lenses! Well, slightly!

16:37 (IST): Novak takes a break against the run of play. The World No.2 is facing an issue with his contact lenses and he rushes in to the locker room.  MEDICAL TIMEOUT

16:34 (IST): Djokovic keeps Raonic distraught - seemingly improbable for the Canadian to break Novak as the game moves ahead. 4-4

Raonic manages to slide past. A narrow tether between the two. In a dizzy exchange-rally of the ball, Raonic succeeds. 4-3 up in the fourth.

He runs a country-mile, zig-zag, back-forth, all around! Does it get any better?

 

Djokovic makes it 3-3!

16:23 (IST): What a pass! A cross-court stunner ousts Raonic who tried his luck approaching the nets - getting swamped by a Djokovic dagger.

It is a tad too late for Raonic. But is it? Has he got any new trick up his sleeve which an all-round Djokovic may find startling? Raonic's options are wilting.

16:20 (IST): In just a minute, Raonic completes a dominating serve. 3-2 lead for the Canadian.

16:18 (IST): He is unbreakable! Djokovic outclasses Raonic once again to make it 2-2.

16:17 (IST): DEUCE, a rare feature across a Serbian serve! 

The conditions of the surface and balls this time around has very well suited Djokovic's style of play. Also hinted by Federer, the balls scuff up to tinsels in a matter of moments. The Serb is relishing and thriving!

16:12 (IST): Raonic eases in on serve, Djokovic could not force himself on this one. Raonic leads 2-1 with Novak's serve ahead.

16:09 (IST): And the Djoker holds! 1-1 after two games in the fourth.

But the Serb follows up with an strong serve which fends off the lead from Raonic - DEUCE

16:07 (IST): A faint chance for Raonic! The Canadian grunts and grinds to force a break-point.

Raonic, strong on serve. 1-0 in the fourth.

In imperious touch, the Djoker marches forward .....

 

And he takes the set, comfortably. 6-3, the scoreline reads. Raonic would be wondering what more could he have done. The returns from Djokovic on his serve as been simply impossible to replicate and that's been the difference over the course of this match.

He just storms through his serve - Raonic with a mere reply to serve.

15:58 (IST): Set Point for Djokovic.

15:54 (IST): The ball goes wide, Djokovic challenges but in vain. Raonic narrows the lead to 5-3  on serve.

And the Serbian holds! Raonic nets the forehand as Djokovic closes in on the set, leading 5-2.

Seven minutes into the seventh game of the set!

A rare doube-fault from Djokovic. Returns the scores to a Deuce.

Probably the hardest serve the Serbian has had so far.

15:46(IST): Not so easy this time! A glittering slice-pass from Raonic astounds Djokovic.

It's been perennial class and absolute nonchalance from Djokovic who surges to another platform on serve!

15:44 (IST): 4-2, Raonic holds.

Raonic - the stunning server, has somehow had to grind immensely for each point. In all respect to the Canadian, despite his greatest efforts, Djokovic is on another level altogether - imperious in touch and serve!

15:38: Both players serving big! But the Serbian maestro immaculate returns have made the dent on Raonic, something which the Canadian has failed to do! Cruises through serve to go 4-1 up!

An early break! Novak breaks to make it 3-1. Big moment in the match and shows the stupendous superiority of Novak's game! An amazing forehand, closing in on the rally and there was little that Raonic could do.

15:35 (IST): Seven games into the game. The returns of Djokovic frustrating Raonic - possibly anyone would feel irritated after firing in 220+km/h and getting convincingly beaten!

Another break point chance! Djokovic rallies behind Raonic, panting after his efforts to go up!

A tremendous return from Djokovic leaving Raonic clueless. But the Canadian comes back with a sturdy forehand down the line.

15:29 (IST): Raonic gears up for serve.

The Canadian fails to break; Djokovic leads 2-1.

15:26 (IST): Only the one break of serve up until now, Raonic will need to maintain his game over a long period to have any chance against a well fortified Djokovic.

Adorning the night!

 

15:22 (IST): Raonic looks more stronger on serve this time around! Stifles Djokovic with a powerful serve followed up with a stellar ace! 1-1 in the second!

Djokovic goes 1-0 up in the second - absolute master-class in serve.

Can anyone topple the seven-time champion in accuracy on-court? I suppose not, not at this moment at the very least!

 

And Djokovic roars and soars; breaks the Raonic serve for the first time and clinches the first set 6-4!

Raonic dazzles in serve under pressue. Holds off a third set-point for Novak.

15:10 (IST): Raonic fails to give in. Djokovic smiles in complete disbelief as Raonic plays a gorgeous winner.

Another set-point for the Serbian! Places the forehand with pin-point accuracy!

15:08 (IST):Raonic saves a set-point, however Novak is riling up in all totality to widen his range.

Brimmed with precision, Novak's return flinches Raonic who loses the grip.

Novak has his tail up. Making the lead in Raonic's pacy serve!

15:03(IST): Djokovic has yet another hold of serve. How effortless does he make it look! 5-4 in the lead!

15:00 (IST): Raonic saves another break point with an ace! After a few stumbles, the Canadian manages to hold his serve. 4-4

14:51 (IST): Raonic forces the game into deuce before Djokovic prevails with two excellent serves.  4-3

14:45 (IST): After saving a break point, Raonic holds his serve yet again. It wasn't a smooth sailing as Djokovic begins to assert his authority in the match.  3-3

14:39 (IST): Easy as it can get, Djokovic just guiles through his serve in a moment! 3-2

14:36 (IST): Raonic holds his serve! A gruelling game! 2-2

14:34 (IST): Almost five minutes into this game, Novak on a 3rd break point.

Amazing returns from Djokovic, a break point for the Serb!  But the Canadian serves in a snorter right on cue.

The metre goes up with a 226km/h! And Novak still manages to hold up pretty well in return!

Raonic powers in a 223km/h serve!

14:26 (IST): If Raonic has any chances to win this bout, he would need to find a way around Djokovic's serve which is a menacing threat in itself! Djokovic leads 2-1.

14:24 (IST): Raonic holds his serve! One-all

Twitterati still brooding over Roger Federer, The GOAT!

14:22 (IST): Djokovic drags it wide and forces Raonic to make a mistake.

14:21 (IST): Djokovic cruises through the first game. 1-0

Raonic has an early taste of what to expect from Novak! A gracious drop which Raonic has no clue of!

14:19 IST:  Djokovic to serve!

The Canadian clearly, will aim to bank his game on his missile-serve to trump Djoko here! In an excellent coalesce of paradoxes - the big-server will have to face probably one of the greatest returners in Novak - a trait around which he has built his game over a decorated career.

Djokovic was only broke once by Argentinian Schwartzman in the previous round - talk about supremacy!

Roll them up Milos!

 

14:10 (IST): And there we are, 32nd seed Milos Raonic enters the Rod Laver Arena who is followed by the Serbian superstar, Novak Djokovic!

Serve 'em up!

Raonic too, despite his lowly one-sided results against Djokovic has read the game well - of himself and his biggest nemesis.

 “I think we play quite opposite from each other, and he's done a good job in the past neutralising my serve. So I have really got to focus on my things well and be the one dictating.”

Novak Djokovic clearly knows what to expect from a redefining Raonic who can smash in some scorching serves!

”He's one of the tallest and strongest guys physically on the Tour. He has one of the biggest serves. I've got to be ready for missiles coming from his side of the net,  played him here and remember it well... One of the key elements will be how well I'm returning and how confident I am on my service games.

How they have fared ----

32nd seed Milos Raonic, meanwhile, has swiftly went about his game in the shadows - breezing through the opening rounds before handing World No.6 Stefanos Tsitsipas a massive heartbreak in the third round. Raonic then took on Marin Cilic in the fourth and brushed past the Croat in straight sets in a comfortable win.

Novak Djokovic comes into the clash with a psychological edge - having succeeded in all their previous meetings (9). The Serb has had comfortable three-setters so far except for the first-round which prolonged to four. His 13-win streak since a loss to Federer in November continues to blaze at the right time - in the build-up to elevate his throne at the Australian Open to a record eight titles.

Federer pulls of two magnificents comeback heists in a Millman thriller followed by ‘Tennys’ masterclass! The Spanish matador Rafa Nadal brushed past a massive challenge in Nick Kyrgios on Monday and now we have the World No.2 hard-court master Novak Djokovic take on Milos Raonic in a potentially volatile clash!

What an afternoon it has been thus far at the Australian Open. The bar seems to raise higher and higher after each passing game!