Milos Raonic overcomes Stan Wawrinka in four sets after four-hour battle of tie-breaks to reach Australian Open third round
- Stan Wawrinka started off with much more intensity than 16th seed Milos Raonic
- Wawrinka took the first set but then the Canadian started to find his rhythm
- Raonic then won two consecutive tie-breaks to go 2-1 up in the tie
- The Canadian secured his spot in the third round with 6-7, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6 victory
Milos Raonic served his way into the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday with a pulsating 6-7 (4) 7-6 (6) 7-6 (11) 7-6 (5) victory against former champion Stan Wawrinka.
In one of the best matches of the opening rounds, the 6ft 4in Canadian repeatedly served his way out of trouble against an opponent armed with an elegant as well as destructive single-handed backhand.
The reserved Canadian raised his fists in triumph after his Swiss opponent misfired on his forehand on match point after four hours of intense play.
Milos Raonic overcame Stan Wawrinka in four sets to reach the Australian Open third round
Wawrinka had battled hard in the first set but let his game slip as the match progressed
The Canadian 16th seed has faced a tough draw but made it through after more than four hours
Raonic, seeded 16, will play Pierre-Hughes Herbert after he overcame South Korea’s Chung Hyeon 6-2, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 to reach round three.
On Thursday he was either one or two points from dropping each of the sets he eventually grabbed on the way to edging 2014 champion Wawrinka
The 16th seed and Wimbledon runner-up in 2016, hit 39 aces as he just about came through in the four-hour, two-minute thriller.
Wawrinka, who has three Grand Slam titles to his name, was two points away from taking the second set, had three set points in the third, and was two points away from forcing a fifth while ahead 5-4 in what would turn out to be the last tie-break.
Raonic worked hard to move Wawrinka from side to side in an attempt to tire out his opponent
Wawrinka stretches to make a forehand as he battled to reach the third round on Thursday
The Swiss star salutes the crowd at the Rod Laver Arena after succumbing to defeat in four sets
‘It feels like four hours passed by in about 15 minutes. … the adrenaline takes over,’ Raonic said. ‘I was very fortunate to stay alive in that fourth set.’
The match was interrupted for about half an hour while the roof at Rod Laver Arena was shut because of rain. At the time, the score was 4-4 in the third set and Raonic believes he benefited from the change in conditions.
‘I do a little bit better indoors than outdoors,’ he said, ‘so thank you for raining up there.’