Giant Canadian Milos Raonic came back from two sets down for the first time in his career to beat Belgium’s David Goffin and book his place in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon.
Like many players, especially in the top half of the draw, Raonic will have been buoyed by the events of Saturday afternoon when the defending champion Novak Djokovic crashed out to American Sam Querrey.
Querry will be Raonic’s opponent in the last eight, and as good as the Californian is playing right now there is no question that he is a more favourable opponent than the ominous Djokovic.
Raonic one of the favourites after Djokovic exit
The world number ones departure has made Raonic the third favourite to claim the title with many bookmakers, behind only Andy Murray and Roger Federer, despite the fact he has never reached a grand slam final before.
For two sets it seemed like the expectations had overcome the sixth seed, who added the vast experience of John McEnroe to his coaching team prior to the grass court season, and for the best part of two hours Goffin was exceptional in nullifying his opponent’s powerful game.
The eleventh seeded Belgian made light work dissecting Raonic’s monstrous serve and regularly made the Canadian look out of place - scarpering around behind the baseline.
A brief rain delay at the start of the third set appeared to help Raonic, who dominated after the resumption before recording a 4-6 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory in three hours and two minutes.
Goffin nullifies the Canadian's attack
Both players had break point opportunities in the first four games; however it was Goffin who made the first move by breaking the Raonic serve for the first time to lead 4-3.
Like in the final at Queen’s Club a couple of weeks ago, Raonic continued to try and deploy a trademark McEnroe tactic by trying to approach the net at every opportunity. However Goffin made life uncomfortable for the 6 ft 6 Canadian, as the Belgian nailed an array of passing shots and regularly dipped the ball low at his opponent’s feet.
For the 4,000 spectators on Court two, it didn’t take much to work out that the two players had very contrasting styles, yet it was the 5 ft 11 Goffin who used his guile and dexterity to take a two set lead.
Raonic was forced to save two break points in the opening game of the second and lost his serve again to fall 3-2 behind moments later.
Raonic's power prevails
After surrendering the second set, Raonic did secure his first break of the match at the start of the third before short rain shower suspended play for around 15 minutes.
Following the interference the tables quickly turned, as Raonic ramped up the aggression level and began to pick out the lines on his serve- which Goffin had read extremely well before the interruption.
Early breaks in sets four and five then allowed the Canadian to reach the last eight at the All England Club for only the second time in his career.
He will now be hoping to match, or even better his result, from two years ago when he reached the last four.