MELBOURNE (AFP) – Milos Raonic sent sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas tumbling out of the Australian Open in the third round yesterday, with the Greek hotshot powerless against the Canadian’s big serve and pinpoint groundstrokes.
Tsitsipas, widely tipped as a challenger to the big guns at the opening Grand Slam of the year, was no match for his experienced opponent, slumping 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).
Expectations were high for the 21-year-old, who stunned Roger Federer last year en route to the semi-finals, before winning titles in Marseille and Estoril and at the season-ending ATP Finals in London.
But Raonic, 29, had his measure, pumping down almost unplayable serves while smashing 19 aces and 55 winners.
“Today was an incredible match for me. I’m really happy with how things went,” said Raonic.
“I enjoy the energy here. To be healthy and playing well, I take a lot of pleasure out of that.”
His win set up a fourth-round clash against 2018 finalist Marin Cilic, who battled past ninth seed Roberto Bautista Agut in five gruelling sets.
Raonic has form at Melbourne Park, reaching the semi-final in 2016, when he lost to Andy Murray, and the quarters on three other occasions, including last year to make it his most successful Grand Slam.
His career, though, has been plagued by injuries, with surgeries over the years for hip, foot and wrist problems.
“I think I have had a sense that tennis could come together if I could put the work in behind it, and I think all those pieces today came together. I was very happy with the outcome on court,” said the Canadian.