Canada's Raonic stuns Youzhny at Australian Open
The upset wins keep getting bigger for Milos Raonic at the Australian Open.
The Canadian qualifier, ranked 152nd in the world, moved into the fourth round Saturday with a stunning 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 defeat of No. 10 Mikhail Youzhny.
It was the first win over a top-10 player in Raonic's career. He defeated another seeded player, No. 22 Michael Llodra of France, in the second round.
Raonic is the first Canadian male singles competitor to advance to the fourth round at a major since Daniel Nestor at Wimbledon in 1999.
"I knew the chances were in his favour, but I knew I was prepared to fight for every point, however long it took," Raonic said. "I'm not really shocked I am here.
"I worked hard and I've put in the hours, so it's all coming together. I feel like I have more of a chance now because I feel like I've put a lot of good matches together."
Raonic will face an even bigger test in the fourth round when he meets Spanish No. 7 David Ferrer, who crushed Lithuanian Richard Berankis 6-2, 6-2, 6-1.
Raonic, who according to tournament calculations will jump to 97th in the ATP rankings with the win, is taking part in only his second grand slam. The 20 year old from Thornhill, Ont., lost in the first round of the US Open last autumn to Australian Carsten Ball.
"These are goals, but this is something I think about today and that's it," Raonic said of his new ranking. "Tomorrow I go out, I train how much I need to, I recover, I do what I need to, and I'm ready to play the fourth round on Monday."
Raonic holds a runaway lead in the tournament for the most aces, firing 31 to put his total from three matches at 79. American Andy Roddick is next with 67.
The upset victory took just under three hours, with Raonic breaking Youzhny in the final game as the Russian fired a forehand long over the baseline.
Raonic won the opening set on a break in the final game, then took a two-sets lead over Youzhny with his third break of the Russian in the set after losing his own serve twice.
Youzhny made a recovery to win the third, breaking Raonic's streak of consecutive sets at eight. But Raonic used his big serve and overwhelmed the experienced Russian to claim the victory.
Raonic finished the biggest win of his career with 96 winners and 54 unforced errors, breaking Youzhny on six of eight chances while dropping his own serve four times.
Raonic was born in what is now Montenegro, formerly a part of Yugoslavia and now an independent nation. His uncle is the country's vice-president.
He said that the support he has been receiving from his adopted Canadian home through the tournament is increasing exponentially with each win.
"Today was the first time that my match was televised completely, the whole match, on the main sports channel back home. So friends were able to see this.
"[I received] many messages and much support from everybody. Especially my parents, girlfriend, everybody has really been behind me. It's nice to see more people come behind me and help me, but my parents, they love me so much, and I love them. They're always there for me."
Raonic lives in Barcelona where he trains with coach and former player Galo Blanco. He said that his mentor has helped him stay calm in stressful situations.
"I'm not getting angry, I'm seeing everything clearer, able to play the big points better instead of being sporadic, getting more caught up in the previous points," Raonic said.
"I'm able to think point by point next point, sort of try to figure out what I want to do, try to dictate as much as I can. I've been keeping it together. I feel it's a thing I have to stay on top of myself to keep together, but I know I can."