Canada’s Milos Raonic beat No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in straight sets on Friday to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open for the seventh time.
The 2016 Wimbledon finalist had five match points in the third-set tiebreaker and converted his second with a booming forehand winner for a 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (2) victory on Margaret Court Arena. This year’s No. 32 seed finished with 19 aces and 55 winners in a dominating performance against Tsitsipas, who beat Roger Federer here last year on the way to the semifinals.
Raonic’s best run in Australia was to the last four in 2016, when he became the first Canadian man to reach the semifinals at Melbourne Park. He lost that match and the Wimbledon final later that year to Andy Murray.
Raonic missed the French and U.S. Open tournaments last year with injuries but says he’s feeling better after an off-season where he could focus on recovery.
“It’s fun to be healthy, to be playing well,” Raonic told the crowd. “I can really take a lot of pleasure in that.”
He will next play 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic, who beat ninth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-0, 5-7, 6-3.
Serena Williams’ bid to win a 24th Grand Slam title has been falling short with losses in finals. At this Australian Open, she didn’t make it nearly that far.
Serving only so-so, failing to convert all but one of her break chances and missing groundstrokes with alarming regularity, Williams stunningly exited in the third round at Melbourne Park, beaten 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-5 by 27th-seeded Wang Qiang of China on Friday.
Williams was broken in the final game, fittingly ending things with a backhand into the net. That was her 27th unforced error on the backhand side, part of a total of 56 miscues. Wang made only 20.
Williams owns seven trophies from the year’s first major championship and this was her earliest defeat there since also bowing out in the third round all the way back in 2006.
WATCH | Wang Qiang upsets Serena Williams on Day 5:
Here is just one measure of how unexpected this result was: The only other time these two women faced each other came at the U.S. Open last September — the only Slam quarterfinal appearance of Wang’s career — and Williams needed all of 44 minutes to dominate her way to a 6-1, 6-0 victory. The total points were 50 to 15.
Wang quickly surpassed those game and point totals Friday, thanks in large part to nearly flawless play in the first set.
Wozniacki heads into retirement
After a third-round loss, former No. 1 and 2018 Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki is headed into retirement.
Wozniacki lost her match 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.
The 29-year-old from Denmark previously said that this year’s Australian Open would be her last tournament before focusing on life off the court.
In October 2018, she announced that she has rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition that can cause pain and swelling in the wrist and other joints. Wozniacki said she isn’t retiring for health reasons, but to start a family with her husband and raise awareness about rheumatoid arthritis.
WATCH | Wozniacki heads into retirement after 3rd-round loss:
The top-ranked Aussie, Ash Barty, was the first player to secure a spot in the fourth round of the Australian Open, and thinks she’s starting to regain the momentum that helped get her to the top of the rankings and a first major title in 2019.
Barty fended off eight break-point chances before beating 29th-seeded Elena Rybakina 6-3, 6-2 in the opening match Friday on Rod Laver Arena.
WATCH | No. 1 seed Barty earns another straight set victory:
The 20-year-old Rybakina had won 11 of her first 12 matches of the season, winning the title in the tuneup tournament in Hobart after reaching the final in Shenzhen.
Barty, the French Open champion, won her first title on home soil in Adelaide last week and, after dropping the first set she played at Melbourne Park, has advanced through three rounds without losing another set. She had a tough start against Rybakina, having her serve broken in the opening game, but otherwise felt good about her latest win.
It’s been more than four decades since an Australian lifted the trophy.
She’ll next meet either No. 18 Alison Riske, or her doubles partner Julia Goerges on Sunday for a spot in the quarterfinals.
No. 14 Diego Schwartzman was the first of the men through the fourth round, beating No. 24 Dusan Lajovic 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (7) and could meet seven-time champion Novak Djokovic in the fourth round.
Second-ranked Djokovic had the third match on Rod Laver against Yoshihito Nishioka. Six-time major winner Roger Federer was playing a night match against John Millman, after defending champion Naomi Osaka and 15-year-old Coco Gauff meet on the centre court.
After a disruptive day weather-wise on Day 4, it was mostly sunny at Melbourne Park on Friday.