Milos Raonic is off to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open for the third year in a row after defeating 13th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
As the scores indicate, Raonic had some early struggles. Up 3-0, he was unable to break Bautista Agut to really blow open the first set. The Spaniard later got a break back, eventually sending the set to a tiebreak where he had Raonic on the ropes, down 5-1. But the Canadian rallied back to take it.
The second set was even more troublesome for Raonic as he was broken in the fourth and sixth games, the latter on a double fault, one of nine he had in the match.
But the third set was a turning point. The roof on Hisense Arena was closed because of a passing rain shower, which made it very loud inside, and then Bautista Agut needed a trainer to work on his leg. Tied at four, Bautista Agut had his break point opportunities, but thanks to his big serve and some strong attacking play, Raonic escaped. He went on to break Bautista Agut to take a two sets to one lead.
It was all Raonic in the fourth set as he built up a 5-0 lead before closing out the victory with a forehand winner up the line.
In the match that lasted two hours and 51 minutes, Raonic recorded 33 aces and had 75 winners versus 55 unforced errors.
With both world number one Andy Murray and defending champion Novak Djokovic eliminated, Raonic is the highest ranked player remaining in the men’s draw, a first for a Canadian at a Grand Slam.
Raonic’s quarterfinal opponent will be 2009 champion Rafael Nadal, who triumphed over Gael Monfils in four sets.