WIMBLEDON, England—Three years ago in the fourth round at Wimbledon, Canadian Milos Raonic came back from a two-sets-to-none deficit for the first time in his career to beat Belgium's David Goffin in five sets.
Yesterday, Raonic found himself on the losing side of a strikingly similar scenario when he was defeated after leading two sets to none in the fourth round at Wimbledon by Argentina's Guido Pella. It's the first time in his career that Raonic has lost a match after winning the first two sets.
The 28-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., bowed out 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3), 8-6 to Pella, a player seven months older than Raonic who, in 12 years as a pro, had never advanced beyond the third round of any Grand Slam tournament. Now he's in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
As the match went on, Pella found his range and started landing his returns at Raonic's feet far more often. The resulting volleys were difficult ones, and Raonic couldn't make enough of them.
It had to have helped that Pella faced—and defeated—another big server in the previous round in No. 4 seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa.
Raonic had neither the energy nor the inclination to try to hold firm at the baseline with a clay-court player happy to engage in long rallies.
And he was struggling to win points at the net. So his options were limited.
Despite his physical woes, Raonic still had every chance to win. He served for the match in the third set, but was broken.
And in the fifth set he saved three match points. But the Canadian couldn't save the fourth.
This was the first five-set match Raonic had played since the U.S. Open last summer, and only his second since he defeated Alexander Zverev in the fourth round at the All-England Club a year ago.
The other Canadians in action yesterday were more successful.
Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski and her Chinese partner Yifan Xu avenged a heartbreaking loss to Yingying Duan and Saisai Zheng of China in the quarter-finals of the French Open by defeating them 7-5, 6-3.
The pair, seeded fourth, advanced to the quarter-finals of the ladies' doubles before Dabrowski and partner Mate Pavic of Croatia even began their mixed doubles campaign.
The pair, seeded third, had a bye in the first round.
Yesterday evening, they faced the unseeded but well-decorated team of Jamie Murray and Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the second round.
Play was suspended because of darkness at 3-4 in the third set with Murray and Mattek-Sands about to serve to try to even things up. Dabrowski and Pavic had led the third set 3-1. They will resume today.
In the junior event, Liam Draxl of Newmarket, Ont. advanced to the second round of the boys singles with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over British wild card Jack Pinnington-Jones.
There are no Canadians in the juniors girls' events.
French Open junior girls singles champion Leyla Annie Fernandez decided to skip the grass-court junior tournaments. Instead, she is competing in a $25,000 International Tennis Federation professional event in Saskatoon this week.