Saturday 25 November 2017

Stan Wawrinka bows out of Australian Open after illness and defeat

Milos Raonic consoles Stan Wawrinka after winning their fourth round match at the Australian Open
Milos Raonic consoles Stan Wawrinka after winning their fourth round match at the Australian Open

French Open champion Stan Wawrinka has revealed how a 10-day illness contributed to his fourth-round defeat to Milos Raonic at the Australian Open.

Wawrinka came from two sets down but could not win the decider as Raonic won 6-4 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-3 to book his place in the quarter-finals.

The Swiss was on course to face Andy Murray in the semi-finals in Melbourne but the combination of an in-form Raonic and poor health ensured his tournament ended early.

"I think I honestly come from too far, I've been sick since 10 days now," Wawrinka said.

"I was still trying to get into the second week and couldn't really be at my top. When you play a top guy like Milos, it's difficult. You need to be 100 per cent to have a chance to beat him.

"Today he pushed from the beginning. He was there. That's it. He was better."

Raonic reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2014 and he has struck form again in Australia, out-powering Wawrinka with 82 winners and 24 aces.

The victory was the Canadian's first at a grand slam against a top-10 opponent in five years but Wawrinka believes it will be tough for the 13th seed to win the tournament.

"He beat some top guys already. Always been dangerous with his serve, with his game," Wawrinka said.

"For sure he will have some chance to go far in this grand slam. That's for sure. But to win a grand slam, you have to beat two of the big four. It's never easy."

Raonic, who now faces Frenchman Gael Monfils, is following through on an impressive start to the season which saw him beat Roger Federer in Brisbane earlier this month.

He has, however, lost to Monfils in all three of their previous meetings.

"These are grand slam champions, guys that have been playing great," Raonic said.

"To beat one of them for the first time at a slam, it doesn't matter if that was on Court 15 or whichever court, it has a very concrete sort of message to the work I'm putting in and how I'm going about things."

Monfils beat Russian Andrey Kuznetsov in four sets, with the highlight of the contest coming when the Frenchman did a trademark acrobatic dive to try to retrieve a winner.

But Monfils said: "It's very painful. I cannot even grip anything right now. I have a deep cut. That's nothing. But I have a bruise. I'm lucky to do not have fracture.

"During the point, I feel that I can have it. So I just do it because I think I have the ability to do it. But you know, I'm not a rock."

Spain's David Ferrer and Britain's Andy will also meet in the last eight after they recorded straight-set wins over John Isner and Bernard Tomic respectively.

Press Association

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