Dominant Raonic Beats Kyrgios, Now For Wawrinka In Melbourne
Canadian will prepare to meet former champion Wawrinka
Milos Raonic barely put a foot wrong and played with great discipline on Tuesday night to work his way past Australian hope Nick Kyrgios at the Australian Open. The No. 16 seed from Canada dominated on serve to beat Kyrgios 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-4 for a second-round meeting against 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka.
Raonic lost just 11 of his service points — six on first serve (52/58) and five on second serve (17/22) — against Kyrgios, who received treatment for a right knee injury that required re-strapping. The Canadian struck 53 winners to improve to 4-3 lifetime against Kyrgios, who hit 15 aces and committed 15 unforced errors.
"I served well today. I was efficient. I kept a high first-serve percentage," Raonic said. "There weren't many situations where I was in trouble. But when it was a little bit close, I stepped up and did a good job."
Raonic broke Kyrgios in the 10th game to seal the first set and his greater weight of shot, in addition to his willingness to play at the net, reaped dividends in the second set. After missing out on a set point at 5-4, with Kyrgios serving at 30/40, Raonic held his nerve to win the 200th tie-break of his career (200-123). He carried the momentum into the third set, which included one break in the fifth game and served an ace — his 30th of the match — out wide to wrap up victory in one hour and 57 minutes.
"He played unbelievable. Unbelievable serving. Never seen serving like that in my life. I've never been a part of it. I was just watching it literally going side to side. I was trying to mix up where I was standing, trying to move before, during, like trying to do anything," Kyrgios said. "He was in such a good rhythm on serve, I couldn't do anything. He was way too good tonight."
Raonic, who reached the Australian Open semi-finals in 2016 (l. to Murray), will now look to improve upon his 2-4 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Wawrinka in the second round on Thursday. Raonic has won their past two meetings in Melbourne three years ago and at the 2018 US Open.
Wawrinka was trailing 3-6, 3-1 when Ernests Gulbis retired due to a back injury after striking a forehand. The Latvian then tested out his service motion, then walked to the net.
“It's sad for him because he was playing well,” said Wawrinka. “For me, the first set, he was playing well. I was looking for my game a little bit. He didn't give me so much time.”