NEW YORK — Milos Raonic’s best just wasn’t good enough against Olympic champion Andy Murray.
The native of Thornhill, Ont., lost to Murray 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 on Monday in the fourth round of the U.S. Open.
“It was a tough match, he was just too good,” said Raonic. “I was never comfortable and he played extremely well. This was a big loss, I really gave everything out there and I’ve never felt such a defeat.”
Murray, still seeking his first Grand Slam title, reached the quarter-finals at an eighth consecutive major tournament by beating the 15th-seeded Raonic.
Raonic was trying to become the first Canadian man in a Grand Slam quarter-final in the Open era, which began in 1968.
Canadian women remain the only players to have gone to the last eight in a Grand Slam, most recently through Patricia Hy-Boulais at the 1992 U.S. Open.
Raonic reached this stage at a major for the second time after getting to the last 16 from a qualifying start at the Australian Open last year.
“This was my eighth Grand Slam and I’m pretty new to this,” said Raonic. “I’ve only played here twice. Sometimes I get frustrated with myself.”
Raonic is the third Canadian to reach the round of 16 at a Grand Slam in the Open era, after Montreal’s Martin Laurendeau at the 1988 US Open and Toronto’s Daniel Nestor at Wimbledon in 1999.
He stands 1-7 against top five opponents, with his only win coming against Murray on clay in Barcelona last spring.
“I need to improve a lot of things in my game if I’m going to compete with guys at the top level,” said Raonic. “But I also want to learn as much as I can. Every experience at this level is a new one. I have to deal with them the best I can.”
Despite his disappointment, Raonic will rise to an ATP ranking of around 14th next Monday.
Raonic never got a break point on the Murray serve and managed only 14 aces — about half his average at the event in the first three rounds. He converted on three of 11 break points and lost his own serve four times in a disappointing evening.
“I felt like I was doing it well most of the time, except maybe a few shots I didn’t go for as much in the beginning just because I didn’t know how to really read it,” said Raonic.
The match was moved to an earlier start because of rain clouds moving into the area, but the contest concluded without interruption.
“It’s tough in there (Arthur Ashe Stadium), it’s something I haven’t really experienced,” said Raonic. “It’s windy constantly and coming from all different directions. So it was hard to really just step in on the ball.”
Murray played smart tennis to nullify Raonic’s huge serve, using his returning skills to dominate.
The third-seeded Murray created his first chances in the eighth game of the opening set, forcing Raonic to save two break points before finally dropping serve for 3-5.
A game later, Murray secured the set on his second opportunity from a Raonic return wide.
The balance of power stayed the same in the second set. Raonic lost serve for 2-3 after again saving two break points but failing on a third.
Raonic managed to save a pair of set points, holding serve for 4-5 before Murray took a two-sets-to-love lead as he fired an ace on the first of three more match points, a shot which Raonic unsuccessfully challenged with the electronic linecalling system.
The third set was all Murray, with Raonic struggling to no avail as the Scot closed out the win thanks to breaks in the third and seventh games, sealing it on his first match point from Raonic’s return long.
Murray, the 2008 U.S. Open runner-up, and his coach, Ivan Lendl, are the only men to lose their first four major finals.
Next for Murray is a match against No. 12 Marin Cilic. Murray leads their head-to-head series 6-1, but his only loss to Cilic came at Flushing Meadows in the fourth round in 2009.
Flushing Meadows, NY (Sports Network) – Three-time champion Serena Williams was an easy fourth-round winner Monday at the US Open.
The fourth-seeded former world No. 1 Williams double-bageled helpless Czech Andrea Hlavackova, 6-0, 6-0, in a mere 56 minutes on Labour Day at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Williams was last year’s US Open runner-up to Aussie Samantha Stosur.
The 30-year-old 14-time Grand Slam champion Williams captured Wimbledon in July and secured a singles gold medal at the London Olympic Games, also at the All England Club, last month.
The 14-time Grand Slam champion Williams’ quarterfinal opponent will be fellow former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia. The 12th-seeded former French Open champion Ivanovic handled Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 6-0, 6-4 on the hardcourts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
The 24-year-old Ivanovic will appear in her first major quarterfinal since capturing the French Open more than four years ago.
Ivanovic is 0-3 lifetime against Williams, including a pair of losses at the US Open. The American beat the Serb in the round of 16 here a year ago and also bested Ivanovic in the third round in Flushing back in 2006.
Flushing Meadows, NY (Sports Network) – Five-time champion Roger Federer received a walkover into the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open when his scheduled Monday opponent, 23rd-seeded Mardy Fish, pulled out of the draw in New York.
Fish cited health concerns for his withdrawal.
“I regret that I have to withdraw from the U.S. Open for precautionary measures,” Fish said. “I was reluctant to do so, but am following medical advisement. I had a good summer and look forward to resuming my tournament schedule in the fall.”
The 30-year-old Fish missed nearly three months of action earlier this season due to fatigue issues that led him to a medical procedure to correct a heart problem. He needed a cardiac catheter ablation to deal with misfiring electrical pulses in his heart.
Fish’s third-round victory against Frenchman Gilles Simon went five sets, lasting more than three hours before ending after 1 a.m. local time Sunday.
The 31-year-old world No. 1 Federer titled here five straight years from 2004-08 and was the U.S. Open runner-up in 2009. He will meet 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych on Wednesday.
The amazing Federer, who captured his seventh Wimbledon title in July, will appear in a men’s-record 34th straight Grand Slam quarterfinal.
A sixth-seeded Berdych finally reached his first U.S. Open quarterfinal in his 10th trip to Flushing by whipping 11th-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 6-1 at Armstrong Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Berdych smacked 17 aces in the two-hour affair.
“At least good that I didn’t stay that long on court, that I was able to save some energy, as well,” Berdych said.
The 26-year-old Berdych is the third Czech-born male in the Open Era to reach the quarterfinals at all four Grand Slam events, joining Hall-of-Famer Ivan Lendl and Petr Korda.
Berdych is 3-3 in his last six matches against Federer, including a big upset of the Swiss great in the Wimbledon quarterfinals two years ago.
“It will be a tough match against Tomas,” Federer said. “We have played many times in the past and he has always been a tough opponent. I will have to continue to serve well and dictate the points.”
The last men’s day session match on Monday saw 12th-seeded Croat Marin Cilic reach his third career and second U.S. Open quarterfinal with a 7-5, 6-4, 6-0 handling of upstart Slovak Martin Klizan in just over two hours.
Cilic will meet third-seeded Andy Murray, who downed 15th seed Milos Raonic of Canada, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. Raonic had six double faults, while Murray converted 4- of-12 break points.
The British Murray captured an Olympic gold medal last month and was the 2008 U.S. Open runner-up to Federer.
News from 35 week 2012 : 27 August 2012 to 2 September