Rafael Nadal

Australian Open Preview: Nadal 17/25 for Raonic revenge

2017-01-24
A preview of the two quarter-finals in the bottom half of the men’s singles draw at the Australian Open.

Rafael Nadal has been cut to 13/4 to win the Australian Open as he prepares to face Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals.

Nadal had not made it to the last eight of a major tournament since the French Open in 2015 but he continued his resurgence on Rod Laver Arena by beating Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-4 on Monday.

The world number nine looks rejuvenated in Melbourne and, with Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic out, he looks a genuine contender to secure a 15th grand slam triumph.

Nadal is the 17/25 favourite to win his quarter-final against Raonic, although he lost to the same opponent in Brisbane earlier this month.

The pair will now meet again after the big-serving Canadian beat Nadal’s fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (8/6) 3-6 6-4 6-1.

Nadal ended last season in October to overcome a niggling wrist problem but, after proving his fitness in a five-set thriller with Alexander Zverev, he has now shown his form against the tricky Monfils.

“For me, it means a lot,” Nadal said. “To start the season playing quarter-finals in a grand slam again, especially on hard court after a couple of years without being in this round is great news. I'm very happy with an important victory against a very good opponent.”

Nadal's loss to Raonic in Brisbane was only his second in eight meetings but he is under no illusions about the scale of the challenge ahead.

“I need to be very focused with my serve and play aggressive,” Nadal said. “If I am not playing aggressive, then I am dead.”

Nadal is 100/30 to win in straight sets while Raonic is 7/6 to repeat his Brisbane triumph while 41/100 for the match to go to at least a fourth set looks a safe bet.

The bottom half of the draw's other quarter-final will pitch Belgium's David Goffin against Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.

Goffin beat Dominic Thiem 5-7 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 6-2 while Dimitrov knocked out Djokovic's conqueror Denis Istomin 2-6 7-6 (7/2) 6-2 6-1.

World number 15 Dimitrov has long been tipped for a big future in the game but has struggled to fulfil his potential. However, the 25-year-old's victory over Istomin earns him a first grand slam quarter-final since 2014 and he is the 5/9 favourite to extend his stay in the tournament with Goffin priced at 10/7.