Milos Raonic knocked out of Wimbledon after squandering 2-set lead
Canadian falls to Argentine Guido Pella at All England Lawn Tennis Club
Three years ago in the fourth round at Wimbledon, Canadian Milos Raonic came back from a two-sets-to-none deficit for the first time in his career to beat Belgium's David Goffin in five sets.
On Monday, Raonic found himself on the losing side of a strikingly similar scenario when he was defeated after leading two sets to none in the fourth round at Wimbledon by Argentina's Guido Pella. It's the first time in his career that Raonic has lost a match after winning the first two sets.
The 28-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., bowed out 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3), 8-6 to Pella, a player seven months older than Raonic who, in 12 years as a pro, had never advanced beyond the third round of any Grand Slam tournament. Now he's in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
Raonic said he simply ran out of gas.
"I wasn't efficient and wasn't able to play the way I needed to," said Raonic, who fired 33 aces among his 80 winners and won 74-of-110 points at the net. "He started getting in more points and I had to find a way to create like I did early on in the match."
WATCH | Milos Raonic lets 2-set lead slip away:
As the match went on, Pella found his range and started landing his returns at Raonic's feet far more often. The resulting volleys were difficult ones, and Raonic couldn't make enough of them.
It had to have helped that Pella faced — and defeated — another big server in the previous round in No. 4 seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa.
Raonic had neither the energy nor the inclination to try to hold firm at the baseline with a clay-court player happy to engage in long rallies. And he was struggling to win points at the net. So his options were limited.
Despite his physical woes , Raonic still had every chance to win. He served for the match in the third set, but was broken.
And in the fifth set he saved three match points. But the Canadian couldn't save the fourth.
"I was serving significantly slower as the match went on," Raonic said. "I just didn't have that push in my legs to serve with the same sort of conviction and to keep him guessing. ΓÇª I became a bit predictable. I started going to a few serves that maybe take a little bit more slice and not going for the flat or aggressive ones that I would normally need to use much more."
This was the first five-set match Raonic had played since the U.S. Open last summer, and only his second since he defeated Alexander Zverev in the fourth round at the All-England Club a year ago.
"It's frustrating. It's twice this year," Raonic said. "I ran out of gas in Australia (in the quarter-finals against Lucas Pouille of France) and ran out of gas here. That happened to me a few times early in my career, and I thought it was unacceptable, and I think of it exactly the same way now."
But he wouldn't ascribe the lack of endurance to the lack of match play because of his back injury. Rather, Raonic said he would re-assess what he's been doing on the physical side.
"I think I had enough weeks at home to train, to do fitness. I just have to review what I did well and more importantly what I didn't," he said. "I feel like I have been making a few blunders on those decisions and how I spend my time when I have been training. I think that all needs to be put into consideration."
The other Canadians in action Monday were more successful.
Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski and her Chinese partner Yifan Xu avenged a heartbreaking loss to Yingying Duan and Saisai Zheng of China in the quarter-finals of the French Open by defeating them 7-5, 6-3.
The pair, seeded fourth, advanced to the quarter-finals of the ladies' doubles before Dabrowski and partner Mate Pavic of Croatia even began their mixed doubles campaign. The pair, seeded third, had a bye in the first round.
On Monday evening, they faced the unseeded but well-decorated team of Jamie Murray and Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the second round.
Play was suspended because of darkness at 3-4 in the third set with Murray and Mattek-Sands about to serve to try to even things up. Dabrowski and Pavic had led the third set 3-1. They will resume on Tuesday.
In the junior event, Liam Draxl of Newmarket, Ont. advanced to the second round of the boys singles with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over British wild card Jack Pinnington-Jones.
Draxl, a 17-year-old who committed to the University of Kentucky last October and will start there this fall, is the No. 12 seed.
Serena Williams reaches another milestone
Even though she is short on matches this year, Serena Williams is still big on grass.
The seven-time Wimbledon champion reached the quarter-finals at the All England Club for the 14th time, beating Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-2 on Monday.
Williams, who missed about a year of play while she had a baby in 2017 but returned to the tennis tour in 2018, had not played since the third round of the French Open — skipping the grass-court warm-up tournaments.
Williams reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open, then retired from a match at Indian Wells, withdrew from matches in Miami and Rome, and then played at the French Open.
"I know that I can play, and now that I'm feeling better physically I almost feel a relief more than anything," Williams said. "Like, OK, finally I can play tennis."
Against Suarez Navarro, Williams won six straight games from 3-2 in the first set and broke for a 5-2 lead in the second. She easily closed it out from there.
WATCH | A healthy Serena Williams beats Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets:
Williams, who lost to Angelique Kerber in last year's Wimbledon final, will next face Alison Riske, an unseeded American who upset top-ranked Ash Barty.
Williams's last loss was also against American opposition, Sofia Kenin in the third round at Roland Garros.
"Well, the last time I faced a fellow American I lost, so I definitely want to do well this time," Williams said. "And yeah, she's great on the grass. She took out the No. 1 player in the world who just won a grass-court tournament. I watched that match, so I'll be ready for her."
Riske ended Barty's 15-match winning streak and her chances of winning a second straight Glam Slam title.
WATCH | Unseeded Alison Riske takes out No. 1 Ash Barty:
Riske beat the French Open champion 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 and will play in the quarter-finals of a major tournament for the first time.
"I haven't been starting out fantastic in all my matches, but I knew I had the confidence that if I could manage my service games I was going to get looks on her serve," said Riske, whose best previous showing was reaching the third round at Wimbledon and the fourth round at the 2013 U.S. Open. "I had to play aggressive. I had to take it to Ash."
I let Alison get back into the match too many times, having looks at second serves.— Ash Barty
Barty was playing her first tournament as the No. 1-ranked player, and she started off by winning points with her serve against Riske.
In the opening service game, the top-seeded Barty won all four points with aces. She won two more points in her next game with aces, as well. She finished the match with 12 of them.
But Riske took her chances when she got them, breaking Barty four times on four attempts, including to take a 5-3 lead in the deciding set before serving it out.
"I was sticking to how I wanted to play," Barty said. "Then in the second set, I think my serve let me down. I let Alison get back into the match too many times, having looks at second serves."
2-time champ Nadal moves on
Tuesday's other quarter-final on the top half of the women's draw will be Konta of Britain against Strycova of the Czech Republic. On the bottom half, it'll be Svitolina of Ukraine against Muchova of the Czech Republic, and No. 1 Simona Halep against Zhang Shuai of China.
In the men's draw, four-time champion Novak Djokovic advanced along with two-time winner Rafael Nadal. Djokovic beat Ugo Humbert 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 while Nadal defeated Joao Sousa 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.
WATCH | Rafael Nadal makes quick work of Joao Sousa:
In other men's matches, No. 21 David Goffin beat Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (9), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, Sam Querrey eliminated Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 6-7 (9), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5), and Roberto Bautista Agut defeated Benoit Paire 6-3, 7-5, 6-2.
The first two men's quarter-finals set up for Wednesday are No. 1 Djokovic vs. Goffin of Belgium, and No. 3 Nadal against 65th-ranked Querrey of the United States.
WATCH | Top-ranked Novak Djokovic breezes to quarter-finals:
Roger Federer, the record eight-time champion at the All England Club, was playing Matteo Berrettini later Monday.
Gauff's impressive run ends in 4th round
American Coco Gauff, 15, lost to former No. 1 Simona Halep 6-3, 6-3 in the fourth round.
Halep broke Gauff five times and took advantage of 29 unforced errors. Gauff saved two match points when serving at 5-2 but Halep clinched the win when the teenager sent a forehand wide in the next game.
Gauff was playing in her first Grand Slam tournament after becoming the youngest player to qualify for Wimbledon's main draw in the professional era and knocked out five-time champion Venus Williams in the first round.
WATCH | Cinderella run ends for Gauff:
With files from The Associated Press