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Australian Open: Pouille ousts Raonic to reach first Grand Slam semi-final

Lucas Pouille, who is into the semi-final of the 2019 Australian Open, had lost in the first round on his five previous visits to the championships. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Lucas Pouille advanced to his first semi-final at a Grand Slam tournament on Wednesday with a four set victory over the 16th seed Milos Raonic. The 28th seed won 7-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4 to become the first Frenchman to reach the last four in Melbourne since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2010.

"I'm very happy," said Pouille. "I returned well and I served well for virtually the whole match."

When Pouille lost the first three games of the opening set, it appeared Raonic would impose himself as he had done in their three previous encounters.

But Pouille, working with a new coaching team that inlcudes the former world number one Amelie Mauresmo, battled back to take the set into a tiebreak.

The 24-year-old not only won that - the first he had taken off the Canadian - he also claimed the second to take control of the match.

Even though Raonic collected the third set, Pouille remained calm. “I'm still leading two sets to one, so I don't have to panic,” he said of his thinking as he broached the fourth set.

Pouille, who had never been past the first round on his five previous visits to Melbourne Park, will play the world number one Novak Djokovic in Friday's semi-final.

The 31-year-old Serb progressed after the eighth seed Kei Nishikori retired from their quarter-final in the second set with Djokovic leading 6-1, 4-1.

Djokovic will go into his first meeting with Pouille as the favourite. He has won 14 Grand Slam tournaments, six of them in Melbourne.