Raonic, Shapovalov advance at Aussie Open

The Canadian Press

MELBOURNE, Australia–Canada’s Milos Raonic and Denis Shapovalov both have advanced to the third round of the Australian Open.
The 16th-seeded Raonic either was one or two points from dropping each of the sets he eventually grabbed on the way to edging Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka 6-7 (4), 7-6 (6), 7-6 (11), 7-6 (5).
The 25th-seeded Shapovalov, of Richmond Hill, Ont., defeated Japan’s Taro Daniel 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-3 later today.
Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., hit 39 aces in the four-hour, two-minute thriller that also was delayed by rain.
“It feels like four hours passed by in about 15 minutes . . . the adrenaline takes over,” noted Raonic, the runner-up at Wimbledon in 2016.
“I was very fortunate to stay alive in that fourth set.”
Wawrinka, owner of a total of three Grand Slam titles including the 2014 Aussie Open title, was two points away from taking the second set, held three set points in the third, and was two points away from forcing a fifth while ahead 5-4 in what would turn out to be the last tie-breaker.
Raonic next will meet France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert on Saturday.
Shapovalov will face a stiff test against top-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the third round.
The 19-year-old Shapovalov had 16 aces to Daniel’s six in the second round.
“I think it was another exceptional match for me,” Shapovalov said.
“Obviously he’s a very tough opponent. I knew that going in,” he added. “I knew it was going to be tough.
“I’m really happy to get through that in straight sets,” Shapovalov added. “I wasn’t expecting that, to be honest.
“I felt in the second set he had a couple chances. I was able to play some big tennis.”
Both Canadian women, meanwhile, were ousted in the second round.
Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que. fell 6-2, 6-2 to American star Serena Williams, the No. 16 seed.
“She has to be the favourite to win this tournament,” Bouchard said.
“It was tough to play against her,” she added. “I always felt rushed, a bit on the back foot.
“She just has so much power.”
Earlier, Bianca Andreescu dropped her second-round match 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 to Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia.
The loss halted a solid start to the 2019 tennis season for the 18-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., who was coming off her first final appearance at a WTA tournament two weeks ago.
Andreescu looked rejuvenated after a brief rain delay in the second set against Sevastova, coming back to break her opponent to go up 5-3 and then holding serve.
Andreescu also started strong with a break in the third set but the 28-year-old Sevastova recovered with three breaks of her own for the match.
Andreescu had 49 unforced errors to Sevastova’s 33 throughout the match, which lasted two hours, 14 minutes.
Sevastova, the 13th seed at the tournament, converted on 5-of-15 break points.
Andreescu was just 3-for-11 on break points won.
Andreescu went through three qualifying rounds to earn a spot in the main draw of the Australian Open a week after reaching the final at the ASB Classic in New Zealand, where she upset former World No. 1s Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams before losing to No. 14 Julia Goerges in the championship match in Auckland.
The stellar run saw Andreescu rise 45 spots in the WTA standings to sit at a career-high No. 107 entering the Australian Open.
She is projected to move up to No. 88 when the new rankings are released.