Milos Raonic – Canada’s last remaining hope for a singles Slam title at this year’s Australian Open – will shoot for a semifinal berth tonight against Novak Djokovic, the world No. 1 and a four-time champion in Melbourne.
Raonic, ranked eighth in the world, has lost all four previous matches against Djokovic, who has yet to lose a set in this year’s Australian Open. The winner of tonight’s match – 12:30 a.m. PST, on TSN – will face the winner of Kei Nishikori and defending champion Stan Wawrinka.
“I know what to expect (from Raonic), we practice a lot, we live in the same place, we’re good friends,” Djokovic said on Monday, in Melboure. “He’s very confident, he’s been playing some great tennis in the last 15 months. He deserves to be where he is now, a top 10, now coming closer to a top five in the world.
“Tough one. Definitely a tough one, and I need to be on my best, the top of my game, in order to win that match.
Djokovic called Raonic a “very disciplined player” and says the Canadian – from Thornhill, Ontario – works hard to prepare himself for every opponent, for the physical and mental grind of every match and every tournament.
“He’s got a very good team of people around him… Sooner or later, if you have the quality and you have a good team of experts around you, and you have that discipline and commitment to what you need to do on a daily basis, the results are inevitable.”
On Monday, Canada’s hopes for a Grand Slam title on the women’s side were dashed when Quebec’s Eugenie Bouchard fell to world No. 2 Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals.
Bouchard – the world No. 7 who’s just 20 years old and was a finalist at last year’s Wimbledon – rose to international prominence at last year’s Australian Open, when she went on a memorable run to the semifinals before losing eventual champion Li Na.
“I’m never happy with losing. I wanted to obviously win today and win the tournament,” Bouchard said on Tuesday, after her loss. “I always want to do better, especially than the year before.”
Sharapova defeated Bouchard in straight sets – 6-3, 6-2 – on Monday. Sharapova had two aces to Bouchard’s none, and Bouchard had 30 unforced errors to the Russian’s 18.
Sharapova also had four break points to Bouchard’s zero.
“I think she definitely played well today and she didn’t give me many chances,” said Bouchard (video below). I know I could have done better for sure, so I’m disappointed with that.
“Against great players you have to take every little chance you can get… I know I had some and I’m disappointed I couldn’t do better with those.”