Australian Open

Raonic into Open last eight as Zverev self-destructs

2019-01-21 07:41
Milos Raonic (Getty)

Melbourne - Composed Milos Raonic said Alexander Zverev's racquet-smashing tantrum didn't "have too much of an effect" as the Canadian 16th seed marched into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Monday.

The German fourth seed erupted in frustration and fury during the second set of a 6-1, 6-1, 7-6 (7/5) drubbing by hammering his racquet into the ground eight times to leave it a mangled mess.

"I have sort of faced that situation, and I was also ahead at that point, so I was just really focusing on myself," Raonic told reporters.

"I wasn't really thinking too much about him on his end. So it didn't really have too much of an effect. I just tried to stay composed."

Zverev was tipped as a future Grand Slam champion after a breakthrough 2018 that saw him win the ATP Tour Finals, beating Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the process.

Instead it was a familiar tale of woe as his much vaunted-talent deserted him again before he could reach the sharp end of a major.

The 21-year-old's miserable slump in Slams means he has made it to just one quarter-final, at the French Open last year, in 15 appearances.

All seemed well when Zverev broke former world number three Raonic's formidable serve in the opening game.

"I was glad I turned around that start quickly," said Raonic. "I gave myself a lot of curse words after the first game."

Zverev looked like a beginner as he threw away the next nine games with a succession of errors. 

The world number four committed eight double faults and 16 unforced errors against only eight winners as the first two sets evaporated in 63 minutes.

When he dropped his serve to go 4-1 behind in the second set his seething anger was taken out on his unfortunate racquet, earning a code violation from umpire Carlos Ramos.

"I think I was up 4-1 at that point in the second set. I heard it," said Raonic.

"I don't think I looked over. I think it was pretty clear what was going on."

Zverev said the outburst got rid of his pent-up frustration.

"Yeah, it made me feel better. I was very angry, so I let my anger out," Zverev told reporters.

Zverev left the court for a toilet break at the end of the set and was more competitive when he returned.

He stopped the flood of mistakes and took the third set to a tiebreak, saving two match points along the way. 

But it was too little, too late as Zverev's abject record in Slams continued.

Instead Raonic, who lost to Andy Murray in the last four in Melbourne in 2016, moves on to face Borna Coric or Lucas Pouille in the quarter-finals.

Read more on:    atp tour  |  australian open  |  milos raonic  |  tennis

 

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