France’s Lucas Pouille reached his first grand slam semi-final at the Australian Open with a four-set upset of Milos Raonic.
Pouille, the 28th seed, had lost in the first round on his five previous visits to Melbourne but his 7-6(4) 6-3 6-7(2) 6-4 victory over big-serving Canadian Raonic was the latest in a series of strong performances this fortnight.
He recovered from a break down to win the opening set, his first in four meetings with Raonic, and put the loss of the third set aside to come through strongly.
Pouille reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon and the US Open in 2016 but struggled to build on that and endured a disappointing 2018.
There was little to indicate he was about to go on such a run after beginning this season with four defeats but he gave credit to coach Amelie Mauresmo, who he hired in the off-season.
Pouille is following in Andy Murray’s footsteps as a top male player to hire a a female coach – in this case the same one – and, replying to John McEnroe’s assertion in the on-court interview that more men should look to women as coaches, the 24-year-old said: “They should.
“She has the right mindset, she knows everything about tennis. It’s not about being a woman or a man, you just have to know what you’re doing and she does.”
Raonic had looked back to his best this fortnight, coming through a remarkably tough draw to make the last eight, with victories over Nick Kyrgios, Stan Wawrinka and Alexander Zverev.
He went into this match as the favourite and quickly moved into a 4-1 lead but he was unable to serve out the opening set and, from there, Pouille looked the stronger player.
He was consistently able to trouble Raonic at the net, with the 16th seed only winning 47 of the 81 points in which he came forward.