Error-prone Milos Raonic eliminated from French Open
Canadian outdone in Round of 16 by Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta
Too many errors spelled the end of Milos Raonic's run at the French Open.
The No. 5 seed from Thornhill, Ont., was upset by Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (6), 6-4, 8-6, and committed a whopping 84 unforced errors in the hard-slogging match that stretched four hours and 17 minutes.
"Heavy disappointment," Raonic said afterwards. "That's probably the best way to describe it."
Raonic had caught a break en route to the fourth round when he needed less than a half hour to complete his third-round victory. Raonic advanced when Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez retired from the match due to a left thigh injury.
The extra rest wasn't enough Sunday however.
The 26-year-old Raonic fought off six match points before Carreno Busta finally won with a forehand volley at the net, with Raonic near the back of the court.
"I just wasn't very efficient, especially through the first three sets," Raonic said. "I had a lot of times where I'm controlling the point, short forehands where I wasn't very efficient, just letting him stick around in those moments, and then he started to believe a lot, and he was the better player there towards the end.
"I hung on as much as I could, but definitely lacked some efficiency, at least from the aggressive side of my game."
Asked if nerves played a part, Raonic talked about his confidence on clay.
"I think it's just most of the time when I come on clay I'll come in playing pretty well on hard courts so that's where I get my confidence," he said. "It's not necessarily the easiest for me to pick up confidence on clay courts. I can win matches and I can find ways, but it's not sort of the surface that comes the most naturally to me."
Carreno Busta will face nine-time champion Rafael Nadal in his first-ever grand slam quarter-final.
'I play tennis to face challenges'
"I wanted to be in the next round," Raonic said. "And then obviously that being for me at least the most difficult challenge there is, you take the best guy on the surface [in Nadal] ... it's a big challenge. I play tennis to face challenges."
The Canadian will turn his attention to Wimbledon, where he reached the final last year, eventually losing to Andy Murray.
"Obviously it's the best memory I've had on court, I played some good tennis there last year, and I'm going to try to get on the grass after a few days off right away, and get there early and prepare," Raonic said of the July 3-16 tournament.
Raonic was making his sixth career appearance at Roland Garros. His best result came in 2014 when he reached the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, Nadal eased into his record-equaling 11th quarter-final by swatting aside Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 on Sunday.
The nine-time champion matched Roger Federer's Open era record for appearances in the last eight at Roland Garros.
Nadal secured victory on his third match point when he pushed Bautista Agut to the back of the court with a big forehand that his countryman could only pat back into the net at full stretch.
The 31-year-old Nadal is chasing his 15th Grand Slam title and first since 2014 — when he won at Roland Garros.
With files from The Associated Press