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By Chris Oddo | Monday January 21, 2019

Photo Source: Mark Peterson / Corleve

Alexander Zverev was flat, and Milos Raonic was happy to take advantage.

That’s pretty much the story of Raonic’s 6-1, 6-1, 7-6(5) win over the 21-year-old No.4 seed. The Canadian responded quickly to being broken in his very first service game by reeling off six consecutive game to take the opening set and never looked back over the course of the one hour and 59-minute victory.

The Canadian reaches the quarters at the Australian Open for the fourth time and will face either Lucas Pouille or Borna Coric next.

Raonic finished with 45 winners against 24 unforced errors and cracked 15 aces while saving the only break point he faced.

Zverev saved 14 of 20 break points and managed 21 winners against 23 unforce.

He was far from his best in the first two sets, and not good enough to take his chances in a more competitive third set.

“Those first two sets—I’ve never seen him be more uncomfortable on the court, make more unforced errors, have no footwork,” said ESPN’s Darren Cahill on set after the match.

Zverev concurred in press after the match.

"The first two sets especially I played horrible," he said. "Yeah, I mean, it's just tough to name on one thing. I didn't serve well, didn't play well from the baseline. Against a quality player like him, it's tough to come back from that."

Zverev saved two match points at 4-5 in the third and had the mini-break in the third-set breaker but he let it slip as Raonic rallied to win five of the final six points.

"I tried to keep him off pace and make him as uncomfortable as possible. It worked today,” said Zverev.

It’s been a very solid run for Raonic, who was dealt a tough draw to open the tournament, but managed to work his way past Nick Kyrgios and Stan Wawrinka while only dropping one set. In the third round he powered past Pierre-Hugues Herbert, also in straight sets.

"It's not fun necessarily before the tournament starts to look at it and say, 'hey, you play Nick to most likely play Stan in the first two rounds,'" Raonic told reporters on Monday. "You're sort of hoping for a bit more time to really work your way into things. But then on the other end of it I dealt with those challenges really well. Right now I'm here playing some extremely good tennis, I believe. Hopefully I can make that count."

Raonic improves to 27-8 lifetime at Australia and reaches his ninth career major quarterfinal.


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