Raonic tames 2014 champ Wawrinka to reach q-finals
Canadian stays calm to knock out 2014 champion Wawrinka
Canada's Milos Raonic fought off a comeback by 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka in a tense five-setter, before taking a major scalp and reaching his second straight Australian Open quarter-final yesterday.
Raonic, who earlier spoke of his grief over a high-school shooting in his home country, eliminated the Swiss star 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-3 and will face Gael Monfils in the last eight.
The 13th seed, who upset Roger Federer to win the Brisbane International earlier this month, remains unbeaten this year after his impressive victory in three hours 44 minutes.
It was Raonic's first win against the reigning French Open champion and world No. 4 in five meetings, and he has not lost a match at Tour level since going down to Rafael Nadal in the third round of last year's Shanghai Masters.
"I'm very happy with the way I competed, the way I turned things around after having the momentum against me going into the fifth set," Raonic said.
"I felt very clear in what I needed to do and I believed that I could do it. That gave me some kind of calm and peace inside."
Raonic said new coach Carlos Moya was helping him feel calmer in stressful match situations.
"I feel like I'm putting in the work and I'm getting the results from it. I'm very happy with that," he said.
"It gives me some kind of ease in those difficult moments, maybe if things aren't going necessarily my way completely."
A case in point came when Raonic was on track for a straight-set win after four service breaks to lead by two sets in 76 minutes.
But Wawrinka lifted his intensity and took the match to a fifth set.
But in the final set, Wawrinka lost serve in a shaky sixth game when on second break-point his forehand drive was just out, giving Raonic a 4-2 lead.
Wawrinka saved a match-point in the eighth game, but Raonic brought up a further three match-points and finally won it with a put-away at the net.
Raonic, who dedicated his third-round win over Viktor Troicki to victims of last week's school shooting which left four dead, has yet to beat shotmaker Monfils in their two meetings.
"He's very entertaining and he's very difficult to play. He can give you complete ends of the spectrum within one game," Raonic said, of Monfils.
"I just have to take the game to him. I have to make him feel uncomfortable." - AFP.