Bernard Tomic has been knocked out of the Brisbane International in straight sets by Milos Raonic, who has set up a possible rematch of last year’s final against Roger Federer.
Tomic, the last remaining Australian hope in the men’s and women’s draws, narrowly fell 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5) to the big-serving Canadian in a nailbiting semi-final at Pat Rafter Arena on Saturday.
Neither player was able to break serve but Raonic stood up in the big moments, even though Tomic was able to twice fight his way back from 5-1 down to level the scores in both tiebreakers.
“It was a great match, a difficult one. I’m happy with the way I’ve been able to start the year and how things are progressing,” said Raonic, ranked No.14 in the world.
Raonic’s booming serve was key in the first set as the 25-year-old sent down nine aces, while his aggression kept Tomic under constant pressure.
Despite the loss, Tomic has all but sewn up a top-16 seeding for the Australian Open in reaching the final four, and appears to be in excellent touch leading up to the first grand slam of the season.
“Bernie’s been playing so well and I know he’s going to do great things this year,” Raonic said.
Federer faces Austria’s Dominic Thiem in the other semi-final while Tomic will now shift his attention to the Sydney International, where he is the top seed and has a first-round bye.
Federer prevailed 6-4 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 over Raonic in last year’s decider.