Pella Goes From 'Wanting To Cry' To Outlasting Raonic
Argentina's Guido Pella has made a name for himself on the ATP Tour with his clay-court success, but at this rate, Pella will soon be well-known for his grass-court results as well. The 26th seed upset another former Wimbledon finalist on Monday, beating 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(3), 8-6 to make his first Grand Slam quarter-final.
“It's a very nice feeling, because seriously, I never thought that I was going to do the quarter-finals in a Grand Slam,” Pella said.
“I always try to fight for every ball. When I was two sets down, that was a very tough moment for me because he was playing really, really good. But after the third set, I think I started to play much better.
“When I won the fourth set, it was not easier for me, but... I felt he was starting to be a little bit down in his game, slower and so I tried to be more focused than ever.”
The 29-year-old knocked out last year's finalist and fourth seed Kevin Anderson in the third round, and the left-hander found a way to break Raonic's serve to get past the fourth round at SW19.
The 15th-seeded Raonic didn't face a break point in the first two sets and served for the match at 5-3 in the fourth set. But Pella broke him for the second time in the match and pulled away in the tie-break. Raonic erased three match points while serving in the fifth set – 4-5, Ad Out; 5-6, 15/40 – before Pella broke through when the Canadian sliced a backhand volley into the net.
“When I lost the third match point I wanted to cry. He was serving so good in those points that I couldn't do anything,” Pella said, smiling. “But I think I kept playing, kept fighting for every ball.”
Raonic was trying to reach his fourth consecutive Wimbledon quarter-final. “I just started to run out of gas,” he said. “Obviously, he was the one who was physically much better towards the end.
“It's frustrating. It's twice this year. I ran out of gas in Australia and ran out of gas here. That happened to me a few times early in my career, and I thought it was unacceptable, and I think of it exact same way now.”
Before this fortnight, Pella had never reached the Round of 16 at a Grand Slam. He won his first ATP Tour title at the Rio Open presented by Claro in February and is tied with Rafael Nadal for the Tour lead in clay-court wins (21).
Pella will next meet Roberto Bautista Agut, the No. 23 seed, who competed with great service consistency to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time — equalling his best Grand Slam championship performance (also 2019 Australian Open). The Spaniard beat 28th seed Benoit Paire of France 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 in one hour and 52 minutes. Bautista Agut won the first four games of the third set.
Paire later admitted, “I have a tear in my abdominal, so I tried to serve like 60-70 per cent, but it's tough. When you play against Bautista Agut, it's not easy.”
Bautista Agut leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Pella 2-0, but they've never met on grass.