Rising star Raonic hammers 38 aces to advance

MEMPHIS, Tennessee: Milos Raonic hammered a career-high 38 aces defeating Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-7 (10/12), 7-6 (7/1) Thursday to reach the quarter-finals of the ATP/WTA Memphis event.
After dropping a marathon second set tiebreaker, Canada's Raonic needed a tiebreaker in the third to oust the Czech star and post his sixth consecutive victory.
He will next face American qualifier Robert Kendrick for a spot in the semi-finals.In other second round matches Thursday, American top seed Andy Roddick defeated Janko Tipsarevic 6-1, 7-6 (10/8), Aussie Lleyton Hewitt rallied to beat France's Adrian Mannarino 6-7 (9/11), 7-5, 6-0, American Sam Querrey beat Brian Dabul of Argentina 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) and Juan del Potro, of Argentina, easily defeated Croatian Ivan Dodig 6-4, 6-4.

It was a quick turnaround for Raonic who beat second seeded Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday.

Raonic squandered four match points in the second-set tiebreaker but still held on to win in two hours and 32 minutes.

His 38 aces was the fifth most struck in a three-set match since the ATP began keeping those statistics in 1991.

On Sunday, Raonic defeated Verdasco 7-6, 7-6 in the ATP San Jose final, denying the Spaniard his second title in a row at the event while becoming Canada's first ATP singles winner in 16 years.

The 20-year-old became the youngest winner on the Tour since 19-year-old Marin Cilic won three years ago at the New Haven tournament.

Raonic has rocketed up the ATP rankings this year going from 156 in the world at the end of last year to 59th.

After winning the opening set easily against Tipsarevic, Roddick had to survive two set points in the second-set tiebreaker. He clinched the match when Tipsarevic hit a forehand into the net to end a long rally. Tipsarevic beat two-time Memphis champ Roddick in a second round match at last year's US Open.

The struggling Querrey entered the tournament having lost six consecutive matches dating to mid-October and was 0-3 this year.

On the women's side of the draw Thursday, Russian Evgeniya Rodina, Czech Lucie Hradecka, Rebecca Marino of Canada and Magdalena Rybarikova all advanced to the semi-finals with straight-set victories.

Marino, the only seeded player remaining at No. 6, defeated American Coco Vandeweghe 6-1, 7-6 (8/6).


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