Coming back two sets down against David Goffin of Belgium, Milos Raonic won his fourth round match at Wimbledon 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
The win takes Raonic to the quarterfinals of this major for the second time in his career, after previously getting to the semifinals in 2014. Awaiting him in the quarters will be American Sam Querrey, now of the Novak Djokovic giant slayer fame.
The two sets lost to Goffin were also the first ones dropped by Raonic in four matches at Wimbledon this year. Up until Monday’s encounter against the Belgian, Raonic had won all nine sets he played this year at the All-England Club, defeating Jack Sock, Andreas Seppi and Pablo Carreno Busta along the way.
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The Canadian was winless from the eight occasions in which he found himself two sets down at a Grand Slam, making Monday’s victory a breakthrough.
“I just had to change something, had to change the way the match was happening,” Raonic said when asked what he thought when trailing by two sets. “It was too much on (Goffin’s) terms, I was allowing him to play too much, get too much rhythm, points were too long. He was feeling good, he was doing a lot of good things in the beginning. I just wanted to take that away from him.”
After taking a two-set lead by winning three break points, Goffin finally conceded one himself (he had saved four to this point), hitting a backhand wide of the baseline down 30-40 at 1-1 in the third. That break gave Raonic all he needed to get back into the match as he quickly consolidated to go up 3-1, before cutting the match deficit to two sets to one.
Raonic didn’t face a break point again until the fourth game of the next set. After holding serve at 2-2, Raonic took another service game from Goffin when the Belgian hit a cross-court attempt wide to Raonic’s left. That was the opening Canada’s ace needed in the fourth set, as he took the next game at love for a 4-2 lead, before evening the match two sets apiece.
Goffin tried to stop Raonic’s newfound momentum, winning the first game of the fifth set at love. Raonic responded by holding serve himself, unleashing a body shot at 40-15 that was too much for the Belgian and the set was tied 1-1. The pivotal moments of the final frame arrived at 2-2 with Goffin serving. Raonic marched out to a love-40 lead but Goffin came back to win the next two points. At 30-40 an aggressive Raonic forehand was returned wide by Goffin and the match was all but sealed. Raonic won his next service game at love to lead 4-2 before taking the set and match.
In facing Querrey in the next round, Raonic faces a player who stunned the tennis world by beating world number one Djokovic in four sets through an overnight rain delay in the third round. He then dispatched Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in straight sets in the forth.
“Sam deserves to be there,” Raonic said when asked if he was hoping to play Djokovic, confirming that taking on the world’s top ranked player was “something (his team) worked at.”
Querrey has advanced past Raonic on three occasions, beating him twice – including once at Wimbledon in 2012 – and taking a walkover in 2013, the same year the Canadian won his only match over Querrey. The two players rarely meet on the international stage, but on Wednesday they’ll both try to book a ticket to the Wimbledon semifinals.
Raonic isn’t the only Canadian Wimbledon quarterfinalist, as Adil Shamasdin has reached that stage in men’s doubles with British partner Jonathan Marray.
Also alive in men’s doubles are Vasek Pospisil and his U.S. partner Jack Sock, who are in third round.