MELBOURNE, Australia – Canadian Milos Raonic made quick work of a dangerous opponent to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open as he beat Viktor Troicki Saturday and dedicated the win to the victims of a shooting in Canada.
The 25-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., took an hour and 46 minutes to advance into the second week of the first major of the season, claiming the match 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.
The match between pre-Open champions Raonic beat Roger Federer for the Brisbane title while Troicki won Sydney _ created some stress for Raonic as he took to the court after hearing the tragic news that took place Friday in La Loche, Sask.
“It was a difficult day back home,” Raonic said. “There was a shooting in a high school in a small town. I give my thoughts to that community, the families, the students and the school affected.
“We wish you all the best. This win was for that community and a speedy recovery. All of Canada and the world is behind you.”
He added: “I know there is a lot of Canadians that stay up. Stuff like this doesn’t happen much back home. I’m sure not just in that small community but throughout Canada it was a lot of people that were sort of heartbroken over it.”
The 13th seed’s win was in sharp contrast to his previous match, a struggle lasting for three hours over Tommy Robredo. He will next face fourth-seeded 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka, who beat Lukas Rosol 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).
“He’s playing well, he’s played solid through what I have seen. I have it within myself to be able to find the solution. The question is will I step up and do it? Hopefully I’m able to put the pieces together.
“We both have the very clear goal of wanting to dictate and control the pace of the match and the rhythm. I think it’s who can do that better.”
Also, Toronto’s Daniel Nestor and partner Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic beat Poland’s Lukasz Kubot and Marcin Matkowski 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 to advance to the third round in men’s doubles.
They will face Pablo Andujar and Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain next.
Raonic defeated Troicki for a fourth time dating to 2012 and has not dropped a set in the series. He finished with 14 aces, 37 winners and conversions on 5-of-12 break point chances.
Troicki committed 24 unforced errors as Raonic competed in his 20th career Grand Slam and sixth Australian appearance.
“This was definitely the best match I have played here in Melbourne so far this year. I thought I played smart. I thought I changed up things really well,” said Raonic. “Took care of my serve really well, mixed up my serve, was efficient at the net.
“I think I would give myself an A grading on the way I was able to play. The only thing I thought maybe I got sucked into slicing too much beginning of the second set and letting him find the rhythm too much.”
Raonic is into the last 16 in Melbourne for the fourth time as he produced his third win of the week in straight sets. He played the quarter-finals a year ago.
The 2014 Wimbledon semifinalist swept up the first two sets against Troicki in an hour with a break per set. The Canadian was broken for his only time in the match as Troicki took a 4-3 lead in the third, only to lose it as the Canadian struck back for 5-4.
Raonic caught the sideline with a service winner to set up match point and advanced when Troicki returned long over the baseline.