Australian Open: Milos Raonic advances to quarter-finals
Canadian player beats Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka in 5 sets
Canadian Milos Raonic has advanced to the quarter-finals at the Australian Open after defeating Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka in five sets on Monday.
Raonic persevered with his serve-and-volley game plan and withstood a strong comeback from 2014 champion Wawrinka, advancing to the quarterfinals 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-3. French Open champion Wawrinka was the only man to beat top-ranked Novak Djokovic in a Grand Slam match last year — the final at Roland Garros — and the last man to beat him at Melbourne Park after 2010.
Raonic's win was the biggest upset of the day — he'd lost all four previous matches against No. 4-ranked Wawrinka.
The big-serving Canadian said he felt fitter, faster and more confident in going to the net more frequently, and all that combined to produce his first win on Melbourne Park's center court. "You have these guys, these Grand Slam champions, guys that have been playing great, and to beat one of them for the first time at a Slam, doesn't matter if that was on Court 15 or whichever court, it has a very concrete sort of message to the work I'm putting in and how I'm going about things," he said.
Raonic and Wawrinka were both on seven-match winning streaks entering the fourth round, both having won titles leading into the season's first major. Raonic won in Brisbane, beating Roger Federer in the final, and Wawrinka in Chennai.
Raonic, intent on going to the net as frequently as possible, dominated in the first two sets, but then Wawrinka went on a roll and it appeared he was ready to come back from two-sets down to win for a seventh time at a major. But then momentum shifted again, when his attempted passing shot landed long in the sixth game of the fifth, giving up the decisive break.
"I think it's what helped me win in Brisbane. It's what helped me win my first three matches here, is that comfort and confidence," Raonic said. "It's not just about a confidence, it's about an understanding of what I need to do."
Raonic lost to Djokovic in the quarter-finals here last year. In 2016, he'll be facing No. 23 Gael Monfils, who reached the last eight in Australia for the first time in 11 trips with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) win over Andrei Kuznetsov.
Monfils had a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) win over Andrei Kuznetsov to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in 11 trips.
The No. 23-seeded Monfils, a semifinalist at the 2008 French Open, delighted the Margaret Court Arena crowd with his lunging, leaping style of play. He said it hurts something landing on the hard courts as he chases balls other players would leave, adding "Maybe something snaps in my mind, and I just go for it ... I just fly."
Andy Murray into quarter-finals
Two nights after his father-in-law was rushed to the hospital, four-time finalist Andy Murray put personal distractions aside for long enough to beat Bernard Tomic and advance to the Australian Open quarter-finals.
An agitated Murray yelled and berated himself, and had trouble at times before winning 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (4) Monday in a scrappy game against the last Australian in the draw.
"Last few days were very, very tough. A lot of emotions, yeah things sort of changing all of the time in my head," he said. "It's been a stressful few days, but I'll try to rest up the next few days to get ready for the next one."
Next for Murray will be No. 8 David Ferrer, a two-time semifinalist, who held off No. 10-seeded John Isner 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.
Before the quarterfinals, Murray said he'd try to relax — which may be more difficult than usual considering his wife, Kim, is expecting their first child next month. The two-time major winner said he'd be ready to leave the tournament at any moment if needed in Britain.
Kim's father, Nigel Sears, was working in Australia as a coach for Ana Ivanovic when he took ill and needed medical treatment in the stands at Rod Laver Arena on Saturday night. He was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and stayed overnight, but has been released.
Azarenka bests Strycova again
Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka is into the quarter-finals for the fourth time in five years after a 6-2, 6-4 win over BarbaroStrycova, the third year in a row the pair have met at Melbourne Park.
Azarenka improved her career record against her Czech opponent to 5-0, including a third-round win here last year and a second-round victory in 2014, both in straight sets. Azarenka won her Australian titles in 2012 and 2013.
The 14th-seeded Azarenka will take on No. 7 Angelique Kerber in the quarter-finals. Kerber beat fellow German Annika Beck in straight sets in the preceding match on Rod Laver Arena.
Qualifier Shuai into quarters
Chinese qualifier Zhang Shuai advanced to the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park after beating a limping Madison Keys 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Zhang had never won a Grand Slam match before this year's Australian Open, entering with a 0-14 record at the majors. She's now into the quarter-finals against another unseeded player, Johanna Konta of Britain.
Zhang said during the match she heard spectators behind her saying "quarter-finals, quarter-finals" and "it makes me very nervous!"
Keys dominated the first set with powerful groundstrokes that Zhang had trouble returning, breaking the Chinese player at love in the opening game.
But she took a medical timeout for treatment on her upper left leg early in the second set and was in obvious pain the rest of the match.
With files from CBC News