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Canada's Raonic advances to fourth round of Australian Open with win over Simon

Raonic advances to fourth round of Aussie Open

MELBOURNE, Australia — Canada's Milos Raonic overcame France's Gilles Simon — and flu-like symptoms — to advance to the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Raonic earned a 6-2, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3 win over Simon in the Grand Slam's third round on Saturday after spending his off-day stuck in bed.

"I had a rough last 48 hours, but I got my energy up today much more," said Raonic, who had had a fever and an aching body. "I can sometimes get winded a little bit quicker, but that's improving."

The third-seeded Raonic, who reached the semifinals in Melbourne last year before losing to Andy Murray, reached the fourth round for the fifth year in a row. It was the big-serving Canadian's fourth win in five matches against Simon.

Despite battling through fatigue and other lingering symptoms, Raonic believes that his success is always dependent on the mental aspects of his game.

"Just attitude and the way I stuck to it," said Raonic of his win over Simon. "The game will always come if I give myself a chance with that."

Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., will next play Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat David Ferrer 7-5, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (3), 6-4. Raonic has a notable size advantage over the Spaniard, standing five inches taller and weighing nearly 50 pounds more. As a result, Raonic's power game will have to contend with Bautista Agut trying to push the tempo, much like Simon.

"It's going to be a little bit similar to today," said Raonic. "They both hit pretty flat but Bautista tries to take over more with the forehand.  But also, he doesn't suck you in as much into his game."

Raonic has won all four of his meetings with Bautista Agut, but is still wary of the styles clash.

"I've been able to find the solutions for him a few times in the past before," said Raonic. "It's going to have to be a match where I step up and try to dictate and take it on my terms."


The Canadian Press