Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams advance to Australian Open semi-finals

There were also wins for Grigor Dimitrov and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni

Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams advance to Australian Open semi-finals

Picture by Andy Brownbill AP/Press Association Images

Rafael Nadal has reached his first Grand Slam semi-final in almost three years, after a straight-sets win over Milos Raonic at the Australian Open.

The Spaniard, who won the title in 2009, last reached the last four in Melbourne in 2014. He defeated Raonic, the highest-ranked player left in the tournament in just under three hours to book a place against Bulgaria's Grigor Dmitrov.

Despite the straight-sets triumph, Nadal only broke Raonic's serve on two occasions in the 6-4, 7-6, 6-3 win. The former World number one, won the match breaking the Canadian's serve in the final game of the third set.

In the day's first quarter-final, Dmitrov was a straight-sets winner against Belgium's David Goffin. The #15 seed won 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to reach his first Australian Open semi-final.

His win, in just over two hours, matches the Bulgarian's best performance in a Grand Slam. He reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon in 2014.

In the Women's draw, Serena Williams had too much for Johanna Konta, winning 6-2, 6-3. The American is through to her eighth semi-final in Melbourne. She has never lost at that stage in her seven previous appearances.

Williams will face Croatia's Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. The 34-year-old had failed to get past the Second Round in her eight previous appearances in the tournament. She defeated fifth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to book her date with the American.

Lucic-Baroni's story is one of the most interesting in world tennis currently. Between 2003 and 2009 the Croat did not take part in any of the Grand Slams.

Three semi-finals are scheduled for Thursday. In the Women's draw, Venus Williams plays CoCo Vendeweghe, before Serena Williams meets Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

In the Men's draw, the first finalist will be confirmed after the all-Swiss tie between Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka.