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Relentless Raonic dominates Zverev in Melbourne

Jan 21, 2019
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada

It doesn’t get much better than the quality of tennis Milos Raonic produced in his fourth-round upset of Alexander Zverev at the Australian Open.

Serving with devastatingly precise power and relentlessly attacking the net, the Canadian – a semi-finalist in Melbourne back in 2016 – defeated No. 4 seed and last season’s Nitto ATP Finals champ Zverev 6-1, 6-1, 7-6(5) to reach the quarter-finals.

It wasn’t smooth sailing for Raonic right out of the gates, as he dropped serve in the very first game of the match on an ill-advised foray into the net. A fist pump and a confident “let’s go!” from Zverev followed, and the initial complexion of the match looked dubious for the Canadian.

But that’s when Raonic kicked things into gear, breaking Zverev right back in the following game on his sixth break point with a silky backhand slice passing shot.

Raonic didn’t just slow his 21-year-old opponent’s momentum – he stopped it completely. Zverev would fail to hold serve until the second set, but it would already be too late for a comeback given the quality of the Raonic serve.

The third set offered the German wunderkind the chance to reset, and reset he did. Although Zverev still wasn’t at his best, he raised his level enough to keep proceedings close with Raonic, who would play too tentatively on two match points at 5-4 on the Zverev serve, ultimately seeing the set go to a tiebreak.

The No. 4 seed, whose career-high ranking matches Raonic’s at World No. 3, earned multiple leads in the tiebreak, but was unable to consolidate each time, as the Canadian fought back from 2-4 down to 6-4 up. On his fourth match point of the encounter, Raonic would seal victory on a picturesque forehand volley, earning himself a spot in his fourth Australian Open quarter-final.

Up next for the Canadian is either No. 11 seed Borna Coric or France’s Lucas Pouille.

(Photo: Getty Images)