ATP Tour

Raonic sets up mouthwatering Nadal clash

2017-01-05 15:23
Milos Raonic (Getty Images)

Brisbane - Defending champion and top seed Milos Raonic cruised into the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International with a regulation 6-3, 6-2 win over Argentine Diego Schwartzman on Thursday.

Raonic, who beat Roger Federer to win the 2016 Brisbane title, will now take on Rafael Nadal for a place in the semi-finals after the Spaniard crushed Germany's Mischa Zverev 6-1, 6-1.

Raonic broke Schwartzman once in the first set and three times in the second to wrap up the match in 69 minutes, but said he wasn't happy with his start.

"At the beginning I really struggled that first service game, and had another close service game before I started to get in on his games," Raonic said.

"Then I could feel I started imposing myself on him. He started making some mistakes and I was able to create some things as well.

"I have to be glad with how I finished."

Nadal wasted no time in his 55 minute demolition of Zverev to the delight of the packed crowd in Pat Rafter Arena.

The 14-time Grand Slam singles winner gave Zverev no chance, blasting 30 winners across the two sets and making only seven unforced errors.

Nadal was troubled by illness and injury in 2016 and said he was thrilled to be back on court fully fit.

"After injuries and hard times it's so special to be back on court," he said.

"Tomorrow (against Raonic) it's going to be a very hard match.

"He likes this court and he's had some good results here. I hope to play at my best and If I do I'll have a good chance."

Fourth seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem saw off huge serving Australian Sam Groth 7-6 (7/5), 6-3.

The Australian was granted a wildcard into the tournament and won his first round match against Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

But once his serve dropped off slightly in the second set Thiem was able to secure a comfortable win.

"I'm pretty satisfied with the victory because he served very well, especially in the first set," Thiem said.

"He had over 70 percent first serves in and if he has this it's very tough to break him.

"But I played a good tiebreak and in the second set I started to return better and luckily I got one break."

Thiem will play Bulgaria's seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals following Dimitrov's 6-2, 6-4 win over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.

Dimitrov broke Mahut twice in the first set and once in the second to make the final eight in Brisbane for the second year in a row.

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