Raonic reaches Wimbledon quarter-finals

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iol spt july1 Raonic Reuters Milos Raonic made it a golden Canada Day at Wimbledon, becoming the first man from his country in more than a century to reach the quarter-finals as he knocked out Kei Nishikori. Photo by: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Milos Raonic made it a golden Canada Day at Wimbledon, becoming the first man from his country in more than a century to reach the quarter-finals as he knocked out Kei Nishikori.

Raonic, the eighth seed, beat the 10th-seeded Japanese 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 in two hours and 27 minutes on Court Three.

He faces either world number one Rafael Nadal or Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios on Wednesday for a place in the semi-finals.

Raonic followed Eugenie Bouchard's lead and became just the third Canadian player in history to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

The only other was Robert Powell, who reached the last eight in 1908, 1910 and 1912.

On Wednesday, Bouchard plays Angelique Kerber, who knocked out 2004 champion Maria Sharapova, in the women's quarter-finals.

Raonic reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final at the French Open a month ago and has repeated the feat at the first opportunity.

His previous best at the All England Club was reaching the second round on each of his three prior appearances.

There were plenty of Canadian supporters in the 2,000-seater Court Three amphitheatre, some wearing maple leaf ice hockey tops, others carrying flags and some waving bunting.

The clash between Raonic, 23, and Nishikori, 24, was an encounter between two of the brightest prospects in the world top 15.

Raonic is on his career-high ranking of nine, while the Japanese is at 12, three places off his highest position.

The match saw Raonic send down a legitimate serve at 141 miles (227 kilometres) per hour, while the Canadian was much more effective when volleying, winning 26 points to Nishikori's nine at the net.

He also fired 35 aces and 66 winners in his victory.

Powell, the only other Canadian man to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals, lived a life far removed from that of today's tennis professionals. He was killed age 36 serving in World War I.

Born in 1881, Powell was the private secretary to the lieutenant-governor of his native British Columbia, and arranged the visit of the prince and princess of Wales to the province in 1901.

He learnt tennis on his father's courts and reached the 1908 Wimbledon semi-finals. He captained the Canadian tennis team at the London Olympics that year.

Powell enlisted in the 48th Canadian infantry battalion, reaching the rank of lieutenant, and was killed in action in France during the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917. –AFP


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