Nothing fires up the Australian cricket team more than donning the green and gold on Australian Day.
Steve Smith’s Aussies may have wrapped up the five-game ODI series against Pakistan, but they will still be motivated to close out the series on Australia Day.
The Big Show, Glenn Maxwell was at his brilliant best in game 4 after clubbing 78 off 44 while opener David Warner was back to his best with a 130 off 119 and the pair will be licking their lips at the prospect of taking advantage of the short off and onside boundaries at Adelaide.
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Nadal rolls Raonic to move into last four
Rafael Nadal wound back the clock to move within a match of the Australian Open title decider with a straight-sets win over Milos Raonic in their quarter-final on Rod Laver Arena.
Nadal last won the title at Melbourne Park in 2009 but stayed on track for another crack with a 6-4 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 victory over the world No.3 Canadian on Wednesday night.
It’s the Spaniard’s first grand slam semi-final since 2014 on the way to winning the French Open crown.
The 30-year-old’s obstacle in the final four is Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who earlier in the day disposed of Belgian David Goffin in straight sets.
The Spanish ninth seed, who had an injury-ravaged 2016 and a first round exit in Melbourne, said he was excited to be back amongst the tennis elite.
“It is a good news, winning against difficult players … that’s very important for me because that mean that I am competitive and playing well,” Nadal said.
“I’m excited about be back in final rounds of the most important events.
“It’s always difficult, but I fought and I worked hard to try to make that happen.”
The result leaves Raonic still searching for his first grand slam title, blowing a golden chance with the world’s top two players Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic already out.
Raonic eliminated Nadal at the same stage at the Brisbane International earlier this month but the ninth seed’s new game plan to take on Raonic’s boom serve from within the baseline paid off.
The 26-year-old will be haunted by the second set in which he had six set points – three when he was up 5-4 and then three in the tie-break.
But Raonic, who reached the Open semi-finals last year, couldn’t convert, serving just his second double fault when up 6-5 in the tiebreak.
The steely Nadal, who went into the match with a new game-plan to take on Raonic’s boom serve from within the baseline, then made no mistake with his only set point opportunity.
Raonic took an injury break and left the court when up in the second set, returning with his right upper thigh strapped, after telling the trainer he couldn’t “push up”.
The third set went with serve until 14-time grand slam champion Nadal took the match in fine style, breaking Raonic to love.
His win continued the veteran theme of the Open, with Nadal, Roger Federer and the Williams sisters Serena and Venus last playing in together in grand slam semi-finals back in Wimbledon 2008.
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