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Raonic storms back from 2 sets down to reach Wimbledon quarters


Milos Raonic rallied for the biggest comeback of his career, but first he had to stop playing “feel-good” tennis.

The sixth-seeded Canadian advanced to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon on Monday, coming back from two sets down to beat Belgian David Goffin 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

Raonic recovered confidently after struggling early in the match and won after trailing by two sets for the first time in his career.

“I allowed him to play too much on his terms,” Raonic said of his bad start. “I was getting the balls in and playing the points and playing maybe better-looking tennis at the beginning, and I gave up on that and said ‘I’ve got to play this on my terms.’

“Maybe I made a few more unforced errors, but I was hitting through the court more and not allowing him to play the way he wanted to.”

Raonic went ahead in the match for the first time when picked up a key break in the fifth game of the fifth set to go up 3-2. He held serve the rest of the way and put the 11th-seeded Belgian away on his first match-point opportunity.

Goffin had trouble returning Raonic’s serve, and the Canadian clinched the match with a confident forehand.

22 aces

Once again, Raonic’s dangerous serve was on display in the match that took three hours two minutes to complete. He fired 22 aces, giving him 101 through four rounds at the All England Club.

Still, Raonic expected to get more from his serve and was surprised to find Goffin using his speed to make unexpected returns.

“He moves well, he’s got quick feet,” Raonic said. “I thought, because he doesn’t have a long reach, I could get around him a bit more, but he was leaning the right way most of the time.

“I definitely expected a few more free points.”

It wasn’t a pretty win. Raonic finished with 44 unforced errors, though he said some of those occurred when he changed his approach mid-match.

“It’s ‘feel-good’ tennis. You’re out there, you’re hitting a lot of balls, you’re getting in these long rallies, you’re feeling the ball … and that’s the last thing I want,” he said “Not just for myself but for the other guy.

“It’s about taking the game away from the other guy. Even if I miss 10 balls in a row, as long as it’s not on my serve.”

Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., will next face 28th seed Sam Querrey of the United States, who downed France’s Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-4 Monday to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final. Querrey’s run includes a third-round upset of top-seed Novak Djokovic.

Will face Querrey, who beat Djokovic

“Today was not an easy match by any means for him, especially coming back after that huge upset,” Raonic said. “He stepped up today against a difficult opponent on grass.”

Raonic and Querrey have met three times, with the American holding a 2-1 edge. Querrey also advanced past Raonic in a walkover at the 2013 Miami Masters.

Raonic made the semifinals at Wimbedon in 2014 before losing to Roger Federer. The winner of the match between Raonic and Querry will face either third-seed Federer on ninth-seed Marin Cilic in the 2016 semifinals.

In men’s doubles third-round action, Toronto’s Adil Shamasdin teamed with Britain’s Jonathan Marray to defeat Marcel Granollers of Spain and Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 14-12.

Eighth seeds Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver and American Jack Sock won their second-round match 6-4, 6-4 over Australians Lleyton Hewitt and Jordan Thompson.

Toronto’s Daniel Nestor and Britain’s Dominic Inglot, the ninth-seeded duo, faced the French team of Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin later Monday.

Rested Federer breezes past Johnson

Looking in fine form after two days of rest, Roger Federer equalled Jimmy Connors’ Open-era record by reaching his 14th Wimbledon quarter-final and added to his own mark by making it at least that far at a Grand Slam tournament for the 48th time.

Federer, a seven-time champion at the All England Club, has not dropped a set in the tournament through four matches after beating unseeded American Steve Johnson 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 at Centre Court on Monday.

Johnson was making his debut in the fourth round of a major.

The No. 3-seeded Federer hadn’t played since Friday, when he was the only man to finish a third-round match. He next faces No. 9 Marin Cilic, the 2009 U.S. Open champion 

Cilic claimed his fourth-round bout when Kei Nishikori was forced to retire due to injury. The fifth-seeded Japanese player was trailing 6-1, 5-1 when he decided to stop the match, giving Cilic a spot in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Murray advances

If Federer gets to the final, he could face No. 2-seeded Andy Murray, who handily defeated No. 15 Nick Kyrgios 7-5, 6-1, 6-4 in the last match on Centre Court to reach the quarterfinals for the ninth successive year.

Murray, the 2013 champion, took command after Kyrgios was broken to lose the first set — missing a simple forehand volley on the third set point.

From then on, Kyrgios seemed to lose interest, mumbling to himself, hanging his head and giving an uneven effort. Murray played solidly, closing with an ace on his third match point, and setting up a quarter-final matchup with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Williams sisters reach quarter-finals

After recovering from a fall on the slick turf, and a brief deficit, Serena Williams reeled off the last nine games to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

The defending champion dominated down the stretch once the Centre Court roof was closed and eliminated two-time major title winner Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-0 on Monday. Williams won 24 of 29 points in the second set and finished with a 43-8 advantage in winners.

The No. 1-seeded American slipped during a point while she was getting broken to trail 5-4 in the opening set of the fourth-round match. Kuznetsova then served for that set, but Williams broke right back to make it 5-all.

That’s when play was delayed for nearly 30 minutes while the retractable roof was shut.

After they resumed, Kuznetsova did not take a game.

Seeking her seventh Wimbledon title and 22nd Grand Slam trophy overall, Williams next faces 21st-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia.

Venus Williams is also back in the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time since 2010.

The five-time champion beat Carla Suarez Navarro 7-6 (3), 6-4 on No. 1 Court.

Venus last won the title at the All England Club in 2008. She reached the fourth round last year, but lost in the third round the year before.

Venus will next face Yaroslava Shvedova in the quarter-finals.

CBC | Sports News

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