Canada’s Milos Raonic wants to lay to rest the ghost of his last grand slam semi-final exit at Wimbledon in 2014 by beating Andy Murray at the Australian Open.
The pair will meet for the seventh time in their careers tomorrow at Melbourne Park after Raonic beat Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 and Murray battled past Spain’s David Ferrer 6-3 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 6-3.
The current head-to-head record stands at three wins each but Murray has more experience of the big occasion as he makes his 18th semi-final appearance against Raonic’s second.
The big-serving Canadian’s last semi-final saw him beaten in straight sets by Roger Federer on grass two years ago and he has not managed to repeat the feat since, in part due to an injury-affected season last year.
Considered one of the players capable of breaking into the established elite, Raonic says he feels ready to make his first major final.
“It’s a very positive thing if you look at the big picture,” Raonic said. “Right now in this moment alone it’s a great opportunity for me. I had a little bit of a disappointing semi-final two years ago now.
“I just want to change that story around and give myself another go with more experience and where I feel like I’m a better player than I was two years ago.”
His form has certainly been impressive, with the outstanding performance being his five-set win over fourth seed Stan Wawrinka in the last 16.
Raonic is renowned for his booming serve but the 25-year-old realises he will need to be smart too against Murray, who feeds off pace and relishes a counter-attacking game.
“I have certain aspects that I would like to manipulate and use my game in, and I’m sure he’s going to try to do a lot of different things, too,” Raonic said.
“I think it’s going to be a race to who can get in their comfort zone first.”
Monfils enjoyed his best performance at the Australian Open, beating his run to the fourth round in 2009, but the Frenchman never looked like troubling Raonic for a sustained period in the match.
“It was a tough one because I think Milos really served well,” Monfils said. “Not even only first serve, but in second serve as well. He played well. He was very aggressive.
“But it was not a bad match from me.”
Federer and Novak Djokovic will share a court for the 45th time today, with their head-to-head record finely balanced at 22-22.
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