Milos Raonic wins, Pospisil withdraws at Australian Open

Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., won 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 over Victor Hanescu, while back pain prompted Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil to withdraw at the Australian Open on Thursday.

Back pain prompts Vancouverite to pull out of tournament

Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., hits a backhand in a 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Victor Hanescu at Melbourne Park on Thursday. (Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil withdrew from the Australian Open on Thursday due to a lingering back injury as fellow Canadian Milos Raonic reached the third round.

Raonic, seeded 11th, won his match after it was interrupted by rain in the second set.

He defeated Victor Hanescu of Romania 7-6 (9), 6-4, 6-4 and will next face Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, who defeated Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (11).

Pospisil, the No. 28 seed, pulled out during a doubles match a day before his scheduled third-round singles match against Stanisials Wawrinka of Switzerland.

Pospisil, 23, and Austrian partner Julien Knowle were losing 1-2 to an Australian duo in the first round of their match when he withdrew after being told by doctors he risked compromising his season if he continued.

He will return to Vancouver on Friday to start rehab in hopes of playing in the Davis Cup in Tokyo in two weeks.

Pospisil called it an unfortunate and disappointing injury.

"I'm really disappointed to be pulling ou," he saidt. "It's my first third round in a Grand Slam.

"I was excited to do my best and take the opportunity, but unfortunately not able to do so at this time."

"It's nothing too serious right now, but there's significant risk if I were to play on it that I could do some serious damage," Popisil added.

"I don't want to jeopardize the rest of my season in any way. So it was just the smart move really to pull out and be safe with my body and try and get ready hopefully in time for Davis Cup."

Pospisil first felt the problem in a semi-final against Wawrinka this month in Chennai, India and withdrew in the second set. He also withdrew from a tournament last week in Sydney.

Pospisil bounced back on Wednesday, however, to earn a 3-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (9), 6-1 victory over Australian Matthew Ebden.

"There's nothing that's really wrong with it [the back] right now," stressed Pospisil. "It's just more preventive - I'm supposed to keep off it for a little while."

Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., began his match in the evening after tournament officials had halted play on all courts except the covered ones due to a temperature of more than 43 C on the third day of a record heat wave.

Raonic, 23, is into the Melbourne third round for a fourth consecutive year.

No. 76 Hanescu had defeated Raonic in the first round of the Rogers Cup in Toronto in 2010 but lost their next meeting in Chennai at the start of 2012.

Raonic found himself in a fight early on with Hanescu as the pair each held onto serve in a set which eventually went into a tiebreak.

The Canadian saved a Romanian set point but needed three of his own to earn the set after 56 minutes.

In the second set, Raonic went up an early break and was in control when the weather moved in. He returned to take the set, stayed in command in the third and posted the victory in two hours, 19 minutes with 27 aces on his fourth match point.


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