Raonic roars back to topple Goffin in five

Milos Raonic prefers playing his tennis like a Canadian lumberjack, axing down mighty serves and swinging away forehands to leave opponents toppling under his brute force.

Belgium’s nimble artisan David Goffin, on the other hand, goes about his business with the precision of a surgeon – wearing down rivals with unerring accuracy and placement.

So it was a fascinating clash of styles on Court Two at Wimbledon on Monday as the two 25-year-olds, one standing 6ft 6ins and weighing 98 kilos, the other 5ft 11ins and 68 kilos, fought for a place in the quarter-finals.

Had it been boxing, rather than lawn tennis, it would have been outlawed as a dangerous mismatch.

But for 75 minutes 11th seed Goffin proved so elusive that Raonic was swinging at thin air, unable to land a telling blow, as the Belgian lightweight skipped two sets ahead.

Goffin could run but could not hide, though, and Raonic, scoring heavily as his first serve clicked, surged back to win 4-6 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-4 – his first victory from a two-set deficit.

After dropping serve three times in the opening two sets in which Goffin second-guessed the Canadian’s booming delivery to such an extent that it began to look like a pea-shooter.

With Djokovic’s shock exit opening up the top half of the draw, Raonic appeared to be blowing his chance.

But he won 15 service games in a row thereafter, conceding just eight points when he landed his first serve.

The Montenegro-born Raonic, who plays Novak Djokovic’s slayer Sam Querrey next with a second Wimbledon semi-final looming, said he had mistakenly tried to play Goffin’s way.

“I think I allowed him to play too much on his terms. I was playing maybe better looking tennis at the beginning,” he said.

“The points were too long. I sort of gave up on that and said, I got to play this on my terms.”

“Hopefully a nice pivotal match for me.”

A different challenge awaits in 28th seed Querrey, a player very much in the Raonic mould.

“I think he must be doing great things,” said the Canadian. “Sam deserves to be there. I’ve earned my right to be there, as well. I’m going to fight hard to try to win that match.”

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