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Milos Raonic defeats Tsitsipas to reach fourth round of the Australian Open

Canada’s Milos Raonic is off to the round of 16 at the Australian Open after notching a major upset on Friday.

The No. 32 seed from Thornhill, Ont., defeat No. 6 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 in a third-round match at the season’s first Grand Slam.

Raonic, 29, has been plagued by injuries in recent years, missing large portions of the second half of last season with a back issue. Prior to his victories this week, Raonic hadn’t won a match since October.

“I think I have had a sense that tennis could come together if I could put the work in behind it, and I think all those pieces today came together,” Raonic said after the match.

“I was very happy with the outcome on court.” A career-best world No. 3 in 2016, Raonic has slipped to 35th while battling injuries and inconsistent results.

He said it took time to heal his ailing back, including a period of about a month where he didn’t serve.

“It allowed me to focus on other things and put other things together and get stronger, get fitter,” Raonic said.

Tsitsipas, 21, is considered one of the rising stars of the game, but has struggled at recent Grand Slams. He lost in the first round at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year before his third-round exit this week.

Tsitsipas’ best showing at a Grand Slam was a semifinal appearance at last year’s Australian Open.

Raonic, who hadn’t faced Tsitsipas before Friday, has played some of the best tennis of his career at the Melbourne major.

This marks the fifth time in the past six years Raonic has moved on to at least the fourth round. He has had three quarterfinal appearances and one semifinal showing since 2015.

“I have always somehow figured out how to put it together here, especially if I have had the freedom to train well,” Raonic said. Raonic is the only Canadian remaining in the singles draw after Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Vasek Pospisil and Leylah Annie Fernandez all lost in the first round.

Raonic will next face Marin Cilic of Croatia, who upset No. 9 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in a tight five-set match.

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