So we've witnessed the first ever Canadian male reach the Australian Open semifinal here tonight! Thank you for following along here on VAVEL. The recap of the match will be up shortly. This is Joshua Coase saying goodbye for now!
So Raonic reaches his maiden Australian Open semifinal, the second of his career overall. He goes on to face Andy Murray in Friday night's encounter!
A half volley forehand winner to finish, a great performance from the Canadian, he was just too strong for his opponent today who gave it his all!
Game, Set and Match Milos Raonic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
40-15: An unreturned serve brings up two match points.
30-15: Raonic two points away now...
15-15: Brilliant play up at the net from the Frenchman, the SABRE attack employed to great effect.
15-0: Monfils nets the return.
6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 5-4: Monfils has done all he can on serve in that last game. It is all on Raonic now to see whether he can close out the match.
40-15: Wayward forehand from the Frenchman.
40-0: Another excellent point.
30-0: Monfils is at last chance saloon now.
6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 5-3: An incredible hold. Great focus and no sense of panic from the Canadian. Very impressive, he is now one game away.
Ad-40: The forehand is too strong again and Monfils was too passive.
Deuce: Back to the old faithful with the forehand winner, break point saved!
30-40: The Canadian narrowly misses the forehand winner on this occasion. Break back point!
30-30: Thunderous body serve once again.
15-30: The serve and volley was too strong on that point.
0-30: Hang on a minute. Double fault from Raonic.
0-15: Perhaps not, brilliant backhand pass!
New balls. Watch out Gael!
6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 4-3: That is a good hold, but that is all the world number 25 can do right now, look after his own serve.
40-15: Two strong first serves to help him out in this game.
15-15: Monfils seemingly lost concentration in that point.
15-0: Unreturned serve.
6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 4-2: Sealed with an ace, now two games away.
40-0: Raonic too strong right now.
30-0: Effective first serve right into the body.
15-0: Raonic drops another huge first serve.
6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 3-2: And there is the break, a decisive one it could well be!
40-Ad: A very untimely double fault, worrying times here.
40-30: Get out of jail card here for the Frenchman.
30-30: Missed opportunity for the Canadian.
15-30: Nervy signs here for Monfils.
15-15: Point won by Raonic.
6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 2-2: Another quick hold from the Canadian.
15-0: A tame second serve return from Monfils.
6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 1-2: What a quick game that was!
40-0: And another ace!
30-0: Back to back aces.
6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 1-1: An unbelievable 224khm second serve right into the body seals the hold.
40-0: Unreturned serve.
30-0: The Frenchman's forehand goes just wide, no challenge.
15-0: Forehand winner from Raonic once again.
6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 0-1: Good hold, what has Monfils got left in the tank?
40-0: Purposeful start to the fourth set from Monfils.
30-0: Error from the Canadian.
15-0: Strong first serve from the Frenchman.
Once again just the one break was all that was needed. Raonic is now one set away from the Australian Open semifinal.
Third Set Raonic 6-3
40-15: Two more set points for the former world number four.
30-15: Another one-two punch combination which Monfils cannot return into play.
15-15: Yet another forehand winner after a big first serve.
0-15: Great defending from Monfils, a well constructed point.
6-3, 3-6, 5-3: It is another good hold for the world number 25. Raonic will now serve for the set.
Ad-40: The Canadian smacks the service return just over the baseline.
Deuce: Well saved with a one-two lunch forehand cross court winner.
30-40: Set point for Raonic.
30-30: Volley put away from the Frenchman after a nice exchange.
15-30: Much better first serve.
0-30: Monfils can't keep the ball away from Raonic's forehand right now.
0-15: Cross court forehand winner from the 13th seed.
6-3, 3-6, 5-2: Another forehand winner takes Raonic one game away from a two sets to one lead.
40-15: The Frenchman mistimes the second serve return.
30-15: Sliced forehand return catches the line to go for a winner for Monfils.
30-0: Forehand cross court winner from the Canadian.
15-0: Another huge serve.
6-3, 3-6, 4-2: Huge hold for the Frenchman.
Ad-40: A chance to get out of jail.
Deuce: Monfils is a lucky man, poor shot by Raonic.
40-Ad: Followed by a big forehand, break point.
Deuce: Backhand return winner from Raonic.
40-30: Much better point from Monfils.
30-30: And again the world number 25 looks rushed as he drives the forehand down the line just over the baseline.
30-15: This time Monfils makes the error.
30-0: Aggressive ground strokes and great defence from the Frenchman.
15-0: The Canadian reaches the drop shot but cant put the ball back into play.
6-3, 3-6, 4-1: The trademark big first serve secures the hold.
40-30: The Canadian nets the forehand.
40-15: Double fault from Raonic.
40-0: Great exchange of pick ups from both men, but it is the 13th seed who wins the point with an overhead smash.
30-0: Winner from the Canadian.
15-0: Raonic with a lovely drop volley to win the opening point.
6-3, 3-6, 3-1: Superb hold, he is on the board in the third set.
40-0: And Monfils is flying through this service game.
Very quick match this, just one hour and 20 minutes played.
6-3, 3-6, 3-0: Monfils needs to stay with the 13th seed here by holding in the next game or the set is over.
40-15: Forehand cross court winner.
30-15: Another strong point on serve from the Canadian.
15-15: This time Raonic can't put the overhead smash away as it comes off the frame.
15-0: Mistimed forehand from the Frenchman.
6-3, 3-6, 2-0: Stunning forehand cross court return winner. Raonic has re-engaged and in control once more.
15-40: Aggressive hitting from Raonic, he will have two break point opportunities.
15-30: Chance here for the Canadian.
15-15: French flare on display from Monfils with the overhead smash winner.
0-15: Decent volley putaway from the 13th seed.
6-3, 3-6, 1-0: Good hold from Raonic.
40-15: Forehand pass by Monfils.
40-0: Strong play from the Canadian.
30-0: Raonic seeks a fast start here in set number three.
All square in the final quarterfinal match at the Australian Open!
Second Set Monfils 6-3
Ad-40: Unorthodox play from Monfils and the crowd love it! Set point!
Deuce: Yet another timely ace!
30-40: Longest rally of the match! Raonic finishes it off with a volley winner. Break back point.
30-30: Followed by ace number eight.
15-30: Seventh ace for Monfils.
0-30: The Frenchman goes for the spectacular down the line backhand pass, but narrowly misses it.
0-15: Monfils goes long with the backhand.
6-3, 3-5: A much better hold for the Canadian, but has the damage in this set already been done?
40-15: Raonic extracts the errors from the world number 25.
15-15: Followed up by a second double fault.
15-0: Ace down the middle from the 13th seed.
6-3, 2-5: What a turnaround. Monfils is now one game away from the leveling the match at one set all!
40-15: A strong first serve is not returned in play by the Canadian.
30-15: Followed by a double fault.
30-0: Ace for Monfils.
15-0: Raonic has gone off the boil at this moment in time.
6-3, 2-4: A potentially major turning point in the match, from break points down on serve, suddenly the Frenchman is a break up!
15-40: First break points of the match for Monfils.
15-30: The Canadian is too aggressive and comes forward to win the point.
0-30: Raonic nets the forehand and now the Frenchman has a real opportunity.
0-15: First double fault of the match for Raonic.
6-3, 2-3: And another ace gets him out of trouble. Really good hold there for Monfils.
Ad-40: Timely ace for the world number 25.
Deuce: The Frenchman draws the error to save the second break point.
30-40: Monfils saves the first with a big first serve.
15-40: Uh oh. A second double fault in the game. Two break points.
15-30: Danger signs here.
15-15: Forehand winner from the Frenchman.
0-15: Double fault.
6-3, 2-2: It looked like Monfils had half a chance there, but Raonic found the big serves to get out of trouble.
40-30: The Canadian booms down a 183kmh second serve.
30-30: This return is much better as Raonic can't get the volley into play.
30-15: The Frenchman fails to return the second serve into play.
15-15: Monfils with the passing shot.
15-0: Raonic uses the big serve and forehand cross court winner tactic once more.
6-3, 1-2: Followed up by another ace as the Frenchman has his best service game of the match.
40-0: Second ace of the match.
15-0: Raonic puts the volley long.
6-3, 1-1: A hold to love, the Canadian's service games have become somewhat like a procession.
40-0: Monfils makes the error.
30-0: The world number 25 moves forward but puts the volley over the baseline.
15-0: Monfils can't get the return into play.
6-3, 0-1: Good start to the second set for the Frenchman.
40-15: This time Raonic produces a return winner.
40-0: Another unreturned serve.
30-0: Monfils makes good use of the kicker on the second serve.
15-0: Raonic nets the return.
A big serve out wide gets the job done for the 13th seed. He's on the way to a second Grand Slam semifinal in his career.
First Set Raonic 6-3
Ad-40: The Canadian makes this volley stick, set point number four.
Deuce: Raonic sets up the forehand winner but puts it over the baseline.
Ad-40: The window of opportunity for Monfils is snuffed out by an ace.
Deuce: All of a sudden the Canadian makes another error, first time he has been pushed on serve.
40-30: The first is squandered by a poor volley from Raonic.
40-15: Another ace down the middle, two set points.
30-15: Another cross court winner off the forehand side for the Canadian.
15-15: Monfils injects the pace into the forehand and the 13th seed cannot return it back into play.
15-0: Big serve followed up by a forehand cross court winner.
5-3: A routine hold from the Frenchman. Raonic will now serve for the first set.
40-15: Raonic's slice backhand sails over the baseline.
30-15: Forehand winner from Monfils.
15-15: Point for the Canadian.
The trainer has now come onto court as Monfils requires more tape for his fingers.
5-2: Raonic remains untroubled on serve.
40-15: Unreturned serve.
30-15: Error from the Frenchman.
15-15: Brilliant get from the Canadian. He finishes the point with an overhead winner.
15-0: Raonic puts the volley over the baseline.
4-2: Monfils was far more aggressive in that game.
40-0: Much better play from the Frenchman.
30-0: Monfils has called for the trainer here.
15-0: Error from Raonic.
4-1: The Canadian is off to a flying start!
40-15: One-two punch combination, finished with a forehand winner.
30-15: Too casual on that volley.
30-0: Overhead smash winner from Raonic.
15-0: Putaway at the net.
3-1: Raonic breaks! Monfils tries to pass the Canadian at the net but puts the backhand in the tramlines.
40-Ad: Another double fault! Break point Raonic.
Deuce: First real danger signs as the Frenchman goes long.
40-30: Double fault from Monfils.
30-15: The Candian steers the backhand up the line.
30-0: Point won by Monfils.
15-0: This time Monfils is able to turn defence into attack, a forceful forehand driven right at Raonic's feet is unreturned.
2-1: As you would expect, no problems on serve for the Canadian thus far.
40-15: Second serve kicker returned long by the Frenchman.
30-15: Raonic too strong in the rally, Monfils too passive.
15-15: Third ace down the middle for the 13th seed.
0-15: Raonic nets the forehand.
1-1: Good hold for Monfils.
40-30: The Canadian drives long on the approach shot.
30-30: Unreturned serve.
15-30: Cross court return winner.
15-15: First extended rally, the world number 25 breaks down first.
And we are good to resume.
Slight delay here as Monfils is not happy about the big screen being turned on while serving.
15-0: Sensational pass from the Frenchman.
1-0: The Canadian gets off to a good start.
40-15: Raonic forced into putting the volley over the baseline.
40-0: Monfils goes long with the second serve return.
30-0: A second ace down the middle!
15-0: Ace down the middle.
Milos Raonic to get us underway.
France - Canada - Let's go!
The players are just finishing off their warm ups, we're only a couple of minutes away now.
The winner of this match will reach their maiden Australian Open semifinal and go on to play Andy Murray, after he defeated David Ferrer in four sets earlier on today.
The players are now preparing to come out onto Rod Laver Arena for the final quarterfinal match.
Welcome back to live coverage of this Australian Open quarterfinal tie! My name is Joshua Coase, and I am happy to be bringing you point-by-point coverage of this quarterfinal clash between Gael Monfils and Milos Raonic. Follow it here on VAVEL.
For a more detailed match preview, check out Noel Alberto's article here!
The first semifinal was set yesterday after Roger Federer took out Tomas Berdych in straight sets. That was followed by Novak Djokovic's demolition of Kei Nishikori as the world number one and world number three meet again in a titanic showdown for a spot in the Australian Open final.
It promises to be a highly entertaining and intriguing clash. I expect plenty of forays to the net, spectacular passing shots and French flare from Monfils, with the added defensive diving lunge as standard! Despite the Frenchman's entertainment value, Raonic has to go down as the favorite! Cannot wait to see how this one unfolds, especially with a prize as coveted as a Grand Slam semifinal berth against either Andy Murray or David Ferrer at stake!
So let’s get down to business by looking how these two match up head to head. Raonic is the higher ranked player at 14 in the world, Monfils ranked at 25, but both have been top ten players in the past. The Canadian has been as high as number four (May 2015) and the Frenchman at number seven (July 2011). It is in fact Monfils who leads their head to head, but the two have only met twice, first of all in the semifinal at the Stockholm Open, where he came from a set down to win 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-3. They last played in 2013 in Halle on the grass, where the Frenchman won 6-4, 6-2.
Now Gael Monfils. What a showman he is, you cannot help but love him and the energy he brings to the court. Has he maximised his talent? Perhaps not. Just one Grand Slam semifinal to his name I would say is somewhat an underachievement, especially considering he has been as high as number seven in the world. This is the Frenchman’s first quarterfinal at a major since his epic against Federer at the US Open in 2014, when the Swiss came back from two sets to love down to deny him. He has made the most of the draw this time around, which has significantly opened up for him after Kevin Anderson’s retirement in the first round, as well as Rafael Nadal’s shock defeat to Fernando Verdasco, who subsequently lost in the next round. He defeated Andrey Kuznetsov in the fourth round, but hey, you can only play who is in front of you and no results are decided on paper.
This is a tactic he has used to great effect so far in 2016, especially against the 2014 champion Stanislas Wawrinka. Raonic showed great mental strength and maturity to survive the fightback from the fourth seed, having seen his two sets to love lead disappear. This is the kind of victory which makes the rest of the locker room stand up and take notice. Having triumphed in Brisbane by defeating Roger Federer a couple of weeks ago and going undefeated for the year so far he is a man no one wants to face.
Let’s take a look first at all at the 13th seed Raonic. Many VAVEL writers, including myself, had the Canadian down as the dark horse for the tournament and he has proved our thinking to be right so far after a great first four rounds. Raonic struck me as a player capable of going all the way this year as mentally he seems to be in a great place, focused and experimenting on court. After parting ways with coach Ivan Ljubicic he has now teamed up with Carlos Moya. This new partnership has an interesting dynamic as Moya is very much an offensive baseliner, yet it is he who has encouraged the Canadian to go forward and approach the net more.
Neither of these players have reached the semifinals here at Melbourne Park before, but both have one Grand Slam semifinal appearance to their name. Monfils achieved this feet at the French Open way back in 2008, while Raonic did so more recently at Wimbledon in 2014. This is in fact the Frenchman's first quarterfinal appearance down under, while it is the Canadian's second after losing to Novak Djokovic last year.
Welcome to live coverage of this Australian Open quarterfinal tie! My name is Joshua Coase, and I am happy to be bringing you point-by-point coverage of this quarterfinal clash between Gael Monfils and Milos Raonic. Follow it here on VAVEL. From now until the match begins at 3:30 AM ET, news and notes will be above to get you up to speed. Be sure to return at match time for point by point updates!