Sensational Saturday for Canadian tennis at US Open

Five Canadians remain in the running at the final Grand Slam of 2014 with four of them finding success on Saturday at the US Open.

Eugenie BouchardMilos Raonic, Vasek Pospisil and Gabriela Dabrowski all won their respective matches on the hard courts of Queens in New York City.

Bouchard, seeded seventh, overcame a difficult outing in a women’s singles victory over Czech Republic’s Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova winning 6-2, 6-7 (7-2), 6-4.

Unforced errors from Bouchard encouraged Zahlavova-Strycova in the second set. At one point the Czech player was serving to close it out before the Canadian intervened only to lose the tiebreak.

In the decisive set at 3-3 the pair exchanged three consecutive service breaks before Bouchard held to win the contest.

The 20-year old’s next challenge will be Russian Ekaterina Makarova in the final 16. Although she won’t be looking past the 17th seeded Russian, earlier in the day Bouchard may have caught a break on her side of the draw when Petra Kvitova bounced out of the US Open to Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic. That eliminated the possibility of a Bouchard-Kvitova quarterfinal.

Kvitova had beaten Bouchard in the Wimbledon final this year.

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In one of the more emotional matches of the day 23-year old Raonic beat a determined underdog, Victor Estrella Burgos, on three tiebreaks 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3) in men’s singles.

Estrella, 34, made his US Open debut this year becoming the first Dominican Republic player to appear in a major. Ranked 81st in the world, Estrella took Raonic to the distance in each set and even served for the third before the Canadian consolidated the break and won the match in the final tiebreak.

Milos Raonic stops to sign an autograph at the grounds (photo:

Milos Raonic stops to sign an autograph at the grounds (photo:

The grandstand fans were buzzing. They gave fifth seeded Raonic his due respect while showing wild appreciation for the longshot Estrella on every crowd-pleasing return and winner.

Raonic said after the match “I believe I can play better” and he knows he must against the 10th seed Kei Nishikori in the fourth round.

Nishikori and Raonic have met three times, including two matches this year. After a career 0-2 start against the Japanese star, Raonic won the important fourth round tie against Nishikori at Wimbledon 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 before climbing all the way to the semifinals.

Wimbledon men’s doubles champs Pospisil, 24, and American partner Jack Sock advanced to the third round beating Marin Draganja (Croatia) and Florin Mergea (Romania) 6-4, 6-2.

The eighth seeded pair will take on Argentine duo Carlos Berlocq and Leonardo Mayer next.

A day earlier Canadian legend Daniel Nestor and his partner Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia also booked their place to the third round at the US Open.

In women’s doubles 22-year old Dabrowski has reached a new high in Grand Slam play getting to the third round with Polish partner Alicja Rosolska. The pair dropped their first set to the team of Misaki Doi (Japan) and Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) but bounced back convincingly in the second set to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Dabrowski/Rosolska got to the second round at Roland Garros before being knocked out of the French Open. Since then, Dabrowski won her first career WTA doubles title with Shuko Aoyama at Citi Open in early August.

Next up for Dabrowski and Rosolska are eighth seed Andrea Hlavackova (Czech Republic) and Zheng Jie (China).