Raonic continues deep Aussie Open run, sets up showdown with Djokovic in quarters
Canadian plows past Marin Cilic in straight sets to advance, Coco bows out
Milos Raonic is into the Australian Open men's singles quarter-finals for the fifth time in the last six years.
The 29-year-old Canadian backed up a straight-sets upset of No. 6 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday with a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 win over Croatia's Marin Cilic in the fourth round Sunday afternoon.
"I did a lot of things really well. I had the idea of how I wanted to play and I was happy I could execute and sort of live up to that," Raonic said.
As a reward, Raonic will get an opportunity to do something he hasn't yet been able to accomplish in his career: beat Novak Djokovic.
Raonic serves up clinic
The defending Australian Open champion defeated No. 14 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 later Sunday to set up a showdown with Raonic in the quarters. Djokovic has a 9-0 career record against the big-serving Canadian.
WATCH | Raonic rolls into quarter-finals:
Cilic, part of Raonic's generation of players and also a mainstay in the top 10 for many years, has struggled over the last 12 months and watched his ranking tumble out of the top 30.
The 2014 US Open champion was hampered by a lower back issue Sunday, exacerbated by the four hours and 10 minutes he needed to upset No. 9 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in the previous round.
But there wasn't a lot he could do as Raonic put on another serving clinic.
The Canadian fired 35 aces, bring his total through four matches to 82. No one has broken his serve, and only two opponents have even had opportunities. Chile's Cristian Garin went 0-for-3 in the second round; Cilic went 0-for-4 on Sunday.
WATCH | Djokovic wins to set up date with Raonic:
The fourth-round matchups Monday: No. 1 Rafael Nadal vs. No. 23 Nick Kyrgios, No. 4 Daniil Medvedev vs. three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka, No. 5 Dominic Thiem vs. No. 10 Gael Monfils, and No. 7 Alexander Zverev vs. No. 17 Andrey Rublev.
Djokovic readies for Canuck's missiles
Against Djokovic, five of the nine meetings have gone three sets. But only one of those has come in the last five years.
"I'm going to have to serve well, clearly. And then I think I'm going to have to get my return at a high percentage, make him play a lot of those points, and then try to be efficient on my service games," Raonic said.
During his on-court interview after the victory over Schwartzman, Djokovic echoed similar sentiments.
"One of the key elements will be how well I'm returning, and how confident I am on my service games," Djokovic said. "I'm really glad to see Milos healthy and playing on a really good level again. He's a great guy, we speak the same language, and I'm glad to see him in the quarters."
Kvitova rallies into quarters
On the women's side, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova became the first player to advance to the quarter-finals. She rallied from a set and a break down to win 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-2 over Maria Sakkari. She'll next play top-ranked Ash Barty, who is through to the Australian Open quarter-finals as she attempts to become the first Australian woman to win her national championship since Chris O'Neill in 1978.
Barty beat American Alison Riske 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 at Rod Laver Arena, breaking Riske's serve in the final game when Riske double-faulted on match point.
WATCH | No. 1 Barty keeps rolling:
As part of Australia Day honours, the government awarded 23-year-old Barty the "Young Australian of the Year" award for her strong 2019 on the circuit which saw her rise to No. 1 in the rankings and win the WTA Finals as well as her first Grand Slam singles title at Roland Garros.
"I think end to end was very different," Barty said. "The breeze is always a little bit different at court level than it is kind of up in the stands. Tonight was stronger than the other days.
"It was just about adapting and trying to work through it as best as you can. It was important to try and hold and stay and fight for every point from the end where you were against the wind, and make the most of it when you were with the wind."
Kenin sees off Coco
Sofia Kenin has beaten 15-year-old Coco Gauff 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-0 to reach the quarter-finals of a major for the first time.
The No. 14-seeded Kenin got early service breaks in all three sets, including the first game of the match against Gauff, who took out defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round and seven-time major winner Venus Williams in the first.
Kenin will next play Ons Jabeur of Tunisia who advanced after defeating No. 27 seed Wang Qiang.
"I was just so happy to have won. It was a tough match," said Kenin. "I knew [Gauff was] playing well. I was just really happy with the way that I was able to handle my emotions and just fight through every point."
Gauff pulled off her only service break of the match in winning a tight first set, but Kenin buckled down and controlled the final two sets in the two-hour, nine minute victory.
"I knew it was a few minor details," Kenin said. "I felt like I wasn't returning so well. I missed a few opportunities. Of course, she served really well."
Sandgren advances to meet Federer
Roger Federer rallied after a tough opening set to beat Marton Fucsovics 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 and reach the Australian Open quarter-finals, extending his record to 57 trips to the last eight of a major.
No. 3-seeded Federer survived a grueling five-setter against John Millman in the third round, when he was two points from defeat before winning the last six points of a super tiebreaker, and appeared fatigued late in the first set Sunday against Fucsovics.
WATCH | Federer survives scare:
But he went on the offence, breaking the No. 67-ranked Hungarian's serve twice in the second set and three times in the third to establish a winning lead. The 20-time major winner will next play Tennys Sandgren, an American who reached the quarterfinals for the second time in three years at Melbourne Park by beating No. 12-seeded Fabio Fognini in a heated four-setter.
Dabrowski advances in doubles
Meanwhile, Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski and partner Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia advanced to the quarter-finals of the women's doubles tournament. The No.6 seeded duo defeated American Hayley Carter and Luisa Stefani of Brazil 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in the third round on Sunday.
By reaching the quarters, the 27-year-old Canadian matches her best result in women's doubles at the Australian Open.
In her only previous quarter-final appearance in Melbourne back in 2018, Dabrowski and former partner Yifan Xu of China fell to the eventual runner-ups — Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.
Dabrowski, currently ranked eighth in the world in doubles, has a new partner in Ostapenko for the opening Grand Slam of the year. She split with Xu after last season.
Dabrowski and Xu's best result at a Grand Slam was a runner-up showing at last year's Wimbledon.
With files from the Associated Press and Field Level Media