Milos Raonic reaches Australian Open quarterfinals with five-set victory
Published Monday, January 26, 2015 7:18AM EST
Milos Raonic of Canada celebrates after defeating Feliciano Lopez of Spain in their fourth-round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. (AP / Vincent Thian)
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Milos Raonic set another Canadian tennis record by reaching his third Grand Slam quarter-finals with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-3 win over Spain's Feliciano Lopez Monday at the Australian Open.
Raonic is the first Canadian man to make the Melbourne final eight since Michael Belkin did it back in 1968.
The Thornhill, Ont. native, is now a three-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist, and joins Robert Powell as the only other Canadian man to achieve the feat (1908, 1910 and 1912 Wimbledon).
Raonic played a Wimbledon semifinal last summer and reached the French Open quarters in 2014. But he had never been past the fourth round in Melbourne.
The eighth seed will next face the winner of the fourth-round match between top seed Novak Djokovic and Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.
"There was some great tennis played today and it's only going to get better," said Raonic after the match.
"It's an exciting time for Canadian tennis," he added. "It's great to see a lot of red-and-white at these matches. It's a pleasure to play."
Raonic also talked about his milestone achievements on the court.
"It's great to be doing what I'm doing and that it is making a difference. It is, I guess, part of some history, if you look really deep," he said.
"But at the end of the day, I'm always pushing myself for what I want to achieve. I'm always looking in the mirror and saying, 'That's who I have to compare myself to -- to myself."
Raonic set the pace for women's seventh seed Eugenie Bouchard of Montreal, who will play a Tuesday quarter-final against five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova.
Raonic needed to go five sets and more than three hours to beat Lopez, breaking for 5-3 in the final set and hammering home huge serves -- including three aces in the final game -- before an errant return from the Spaniard sealed the Canadian's win.
The 24-year-old finished with three breaks and 30 aces in a victory that also featured a massive 81 winners.
"I'm happy with the attitude that got me through. I stayed calm even though things weren't always panning out how I would have liked," he said. "I missed a lot of breakpoint opportunities, but overall I can't complain too much. I fought my way through."
Raonic improved his record against Lopez to 2-2 after losing to the veteran last summer in a Rogers Cup quarter-final in Toronto. He unleashed his big game with perfect timing, generally staying out of trouble against the court-wise Spaniard who stands 14th on the ATP.
Raonic's seventh win of the new season improved his Open record to 14 victories, with four defeats.