Milos Raonic improved to 8-0 this year on tour, on Monday showing he may be ready to take a Grand Slam leap in 2016, upsetting No. 4 seed Stan Wawrinka in five sets 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-3 in Melbourne.
The No. 13 seed, Raonic delivered 24 aces and hit 82 winners to unseat the Swiss in Rod Laver Arena.
“I’m very happy with the way I played, the way I competed, the way I turned things around after sort of having the momentum against me going into the fifth,” said Raonic, who was 0-4 against Wawrinka entering the match. “I’m happy, the situation I’ve put myself in…I was volleying the first volley really well. I was finishing the points. I was putting pressure on him. I was giving him a situation maybe that he wasn’t too comfortable in.”
It was also a landmark win considering the Canadian hadn’t beaten a Top 10 player at a Slam in five years. In the fifth set Raonic broke for a 4-2 lead and rode out the match from there, winning the last game at love.
“Tough match in general, for sure,” said Wawrinka. “I think Milos started really well. He was pushing, playing well. Wasn’t really feeling great there, not playing my best. Wasn’t moving to do something else. I’m surprised it still went five sets.”
Raonic will next meet No. 23 seed Gael Monfils, who booked his first Australian Open quarterfinal appearance with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) win over Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov.
“I was a bit nervous so I could not hit through him for a while,” Monfils said. “Until the end, I was fighting. I think he gave me a good fight, so I was happy to come through.”
Andy Murray and David Ferrer also lined up a quarterfinal meeting after the No. 2-seeded Brit took care of Australian home-country hope and No. 16 seed Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(4), and the No. 8-seeded Spaniard defused the serve of No. 10 John Isner 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.
“Both of us had our chances,” said Murray, who was handed the deciding tiebreak after a flurry on errors from Tomic. “Bernie didn’t play his best tiebreak, missed a few easy balls (but he) fought right to the end and made it very tough for me. Quite a scrappy match. I don’t think there was a time in the match where we were playing our best at the same time.”
Murray is wary of Ferrer, who has quietly been taking down high-profile opponents during the fortnight in Melbourne.
“He obviously played a great match against Lleyton (Hewitt) the other day,” Murray said of Ferrer. “He must have played a great match to beat John, who hadn’t faced a break point in his previous three matches.”
Murray leads Ferrer 12-6 in their career head-to-head, with the Scot winning their last five meetings and beating the Spaniard in the semifinals in Melbourne in 2011.
Tuesday quarterfinal match-ups in Melbourne will be (3) Roger Federer vs. (6) Tomas Berdych, and (1) Novak Djokovic vs. (7) Kei Nishikori.
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