Milos Raonic stands as the lone Canadian remaining at the Australian Open.
Raonic is moving on to the fourth round of the Australian Open for the sixth time in his career after downing France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert in straight sets on Saturday, while fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov was ousted by six-time champion Novak Djokovic in four sets.
Raonic, ranked 17th in the world, downed No. 53 Herbert 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (6) to earn his way into the Round of 16 and will play the winner of the later match between fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev and Alex Bolt.
The Thornhill, Ont., product swept to 3-0 and 5-1 leads in the tiebreaker but Herbert rallied to level at 5-5. Herbert saved one match point before Raonic clinched the 2-hour, 1-minute match with an ace.
“I’m happy,” Raonic said after the match. “To pull up two days after the tough match I had and play a pretty quite good actually level of tennis, efficient, I think that was all very positive for me.”
Raonic said he feels the tough matches he’s had so far in the tournament have laid a strong foundation for what’s to come.
“I have been having stressful moments in matches that I’ve handled quite well. I think that gives me some ease going into sort of the challenges further along.”
Meanwhile, the 19-year-old Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., showed flashes of his skill against the world No. 1 and even came back to steal the third set despite trailing 4-2, but in the end the veteran was too much to overcome.
The 31-year-old Djokovic downed the 27th-ranked Canadian 6-4, 6-4, (6) 6-7, 6-0 in 2 hours, 22 minutes.
“It was a little bit difficult for me in terms of it’s not every day I’m playing a match against a top guy like this on a stage like that,” Shapovalov said. “Definitely I was a little bit nervous, a little bit tight on everything, just hesitating a little bit.”
The jitters went away eventually and he ended up taking a set from Djokovic.
“That’s when I kind of loosened up and started playing my tennis, I just started really just enjoying myself,” Shapovalov said “I told myself, ‘Look, you’re already down two sets, so just have fun out there’. That’s where I felt like I really started to play my game and really showed what I can do.”