Photo: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Playing in the last match on Day 7 at the Australian Open, Milos Raonic was unable overcome the challenge of facing the top player in the world, Novak Djokovic, in the fourth round. In their 12th career meeting, Raonic came short of notching his first career win over the Serb.
There were questions coming into the match regarding Djokovic’s physical condition, as he took a nasty spill in his previous match against Taylor Fritz. But the World No. 1 appeared to be his usual self, presenting a mighty challenge for the Canadian.
In the first set, both players engaged in some long rallies, trading shots from the baseline. In a little bit of trouble, Raonic fended off break points in back-to-back service games and managed to hold on to bring the set to a tiebreak. A few unforced errors combined with some sharp shot making from Djokovic cost Raonic the opening set.
A few games into the second, the Canadian needed a medical timeout to get some work done on his right ankle. The treatment seemed to be a help, as he was visibly moving better on the court and went on to break Djokovic to take the lead in the set. And what better way to consolidate a break than with a strong service game capped off with an ace. The break allowed Raonic to win the second set, taking a set off of Djokovic for only the fourth time in his career.
After a dominant performance by the World No. 1 in a quick third set, Raonic regained his stride. Facing his first 0-40 on serve towards the end of the fourth set, the Canadian came close to overcoming the deficit, but ultimately gave up the late break. In a match that lasted just under three hours, Raonic lost 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to Djokovic.
He fell short of reaching the quarter-finals in Australia for a third year in a row.