Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic squandered a chance to advance to a grand slam quarterfinal for the first time in his career Monday, losing an epic five-set match to Richard Gasquet of France.
Raonic, seeded 10th, lost 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-6 (9), 7-5 to the eighth-seeded Frenchman in the round of 16 at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows.
Gasquet got the crucial break he needed in the 11th game of the deciding set to send Raonic packing with the crushing loss. Gasquet had Raonic wobbling the entire fifth set — he had 12 break points, converting two — as the 22-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., struggled with his serve.
"He played better down the stretch than I did," Raonic said. "I think that was pretty clear. (He) created a lot more opportunities. I struggled a lot more on my service games. I think that's pretty much what it came down to. Playing that way in the end, it only matters who wins that last point.
"It's unfortunate, the result, but I don't think I would change the way I approached too many of the big points in the match."
Raonic had a chance to end it in the fourth set tie-breaker but couldn’t finish off Gasquet, a nine-time ATP Tour winner who had never advanced further than the fourth round at the U.S. Open.
Raonic hammered 39 aces in the match (but just three in the final set) while Gasquet, who will play fourth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain in the quarters, managed just six. But Raonic also had a wide edge in unforced errors, 80-36, despite winning more total points.