Raonic falls to Isner, ending U.S. Open run
Canadian and American play to 5 sets for spot in quarter-finals
For the second Grand Slam in a row, Canada's Milos Raonic could not solve John Isner.
Despite forcing a fifth set, Raonic was overpowered in a battle of two of the top servers in tennis, falling to Isner 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 2-6 in a fourth-round match at the U.S. Open on Sunday.
Raonic was the last remaining Canadian in men's or women's singles at the final Grand Slam of the season
The No. 11-seeded Isner — a six-foot-10, 33-year-old American — beat Raonic in four sets in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
Isner has now won five of six career meetings against the six-foot-five Raonic, the No. 25 seed at the U.S. Open.
"I've definitely struggled with him, specifically," said Raonic.
"There's other guys that are big servers that I've played better against. For me, I think the biggest thing is there's not guys that make me hit returns above my shoulders. That's sort of the hardest part for me. Today, I was much more successful going further back, buying my time, (but) I wasn't sharp enough when I needed to be."
Click on the video player below to watch Raonic-Isner highlights.
Things started out well for the 27-year-old Raonic, who broke Isner in his first service game en route to a first-set victory. But Isner did the same to Raonic in the second set to get back in the match.
Isner looked poised to win after winning the third set, but Raonic staved off elimination for one more frame.
However, Raonic who hails from Thornhill, Ont., sought treatment from a trainer for a hip issue before the start of the fifth set. He said injury plagued him — especially when jumping on his serve — for the rest of the match.
"Just started feeling like a bit of a sharp feeling in my hip. Tried to make it feel better. It was sort of a pain that dulled down, but I just wasn't able to push that much," he said, noting that it bothered him after rising from his chair during a rest in the middle of the fourth set.
Raonic had hip surgery after a falling awkwardly during a second-round match at Wimbledon in 2011, but said the pain he felt Sunday was new.
He added that he should be "fine" in time for Canada's Davis Cup World Group playoff tie against Netherlands in Toronto starting on Sept. 14.
Raonic then got off on the wrong foot to start the final set.
Isner surged ahead love-40 in the second game. Raonic won two straight points, but double-faulted to put Isner up a break at 2-0 and he never really recovered.
Isner finished with 20 aces while only hitting one double fault to Raonic's 18 and 1, respectively.
The big American had the more effective serve overall, winning 86 per cent of his first attempts. Raonic took 80 per cent.
Isner also finished with more winners 56 to 47, while Raonic had fewer errors (19 to 25).
Nadal set to face Thiem
The top-ranked Nadal is back in the U.S. Open quarter-finals after beating Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-4.
The Spaniard improved to 8-2 in fourth-round matches in the U.S. Open, rebounding from dropping the tiebreaker in the third set Sunday to break the Georgian's serve twice in the fourth set.
And Kevin Anderson won't be getting a second shot at Nadal in the Open.
Anderson was hoping to earn a rematch with Nadal, who beat him last year in the South African's first Grand Slam final. Instead, it will be the ninth-seeded Thiem who will face Nadal in the quarter-finals.
Click on the video below to watch highlights of Nadal's win
"Of course it's disappointing," Anderson said. "I wanted to be here right until the end and put myself in contention of winning my first major. It wasn't meant to be."
Anderson's run to last year's final was a surprise, as at No. 32 he was the lowest-ranked U.S. Open finalist in the history of the ATP rankings. But he backed that up with a strong season, reaching the Wimbledon final and earning the No. 5 seed in this tournament.
Serena Williams turns it on
Serena Williams was in action later Sunday after routing her sister on Friday in what she felt was her best match since her return to tennis.
She was sharp again beating Kaia Kanepi.
Williams reached the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows for a 10th consecutive appearance — she wasn't there last year because she gave birth to her daughter during the tournament — by picking her level up after a lull and using 18 aces to beat Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-0, 4-6, 6-3.
Click on the video below to watch highlights of Williams advancing.
"It wasn't an easy match at all. She obviously knows how to play," said Williams, a six-time U.S. Open champion who finished with more than twice as many winners as Kanepi, 47-22. "I was just happy to get through it."
When she ripped a backhand winner to claim the third set's opening game Sunday, Williams let out her loudest shout of the day, leaning forward and rocking both arms. This turned into a test, and she passed it.
With files from The Associated Press