surviving seed Raonic safely into last eight
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[January 23, 2017]
By Nick Mulvenney
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Third seed Milos
Raonic came safely through a potentially tricky match against
Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(6) 3-6 6-4 6-1 on Monday to reach the
Australian Open quarter-finals for the third straight year.
The Canadian, the highest surviving seed after the early departures
of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, rarely hit his usual heights in
the two hour, 52 minute contest on Hisense Arena.
The 26-year-old produced his best tennis when it mattered, though,
coming back from 5-1 down in the tiebreaker to win the first set and
finally got some breathing space by saving break points and breaking
the world number 13 to win the third set.
Teak tough Bautista Agut is nothing if not a fighter but required
treatment on his left leg before Raonic raced away with the fourth
set and sealed the victory with a crunching forehand winner down the
"I guess there's always that sort of match where you sort of fall
off," Raonic told reporters.
"It's a long two weeks. So I guess unfortunately that was it for me
today. So I'm happy I was able to solve that."
The match was a stop-start affair because of a few passing showers
and it was only when Raonic insisted the roof be closed that the
Canadian stamped his authority on the match.
Raonic had complained of a fever after his third-round victory and
looked flat in the opening set before coming alive to win the
tiebreaker and taking a service break to open the second.
"I still don't necessarily feel at full capacity," he added. "I have
energy now. I can go about my days normally. Sort of on the tail end
of the recovery."
Bautista Agut enjoyed good fortune when his running pass took a
deflection off the net tape to allow him to break back and the
Spaniard rattled off five of the next six games to even up the
[to top of second column]
Canada's Milos Raonic hits a shot during his Men's singles fourth
round match against Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut. REUTERS/Issei
The third set was a cat-and-mouse affair until Raonic again ramped
up his game to secure the break he needed to go 2-1 up and Bautista
Agut was barely able to draw breath before he was 5-0 down in the
Raonic, who fired down 33 aces and 75 winners, will next meet 2009
champion Rafael Nadal or Gael Monfils as he continues his quest for
a maiden grand slam title.
Even with Murray and Djokovic gone, though, he was looking no
further ahead than his next match.
"I just know who I play next, I don't know who I was supposed to
play and this kind of stuff," he said.
"I'm pretty intent on staying in that moment."
(Editing by Ed Osmond)
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