Canadian will next face former champ Rafael Nadal.
Courtesy: The Associated Press Posted: Jan 22, 2017 9:25 PM ET Last Updated: Jan 23, 2017 5:22 AM ET
Canada's Milos Raonic hits a backhand to Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut during their fourth round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia on Monday evening. (Dita Alangkara/The Associated Press)
Raonic, who's been ill with the flu for the past few days, struggled at the outset against the 13th-seeded Spaniard. He rallied from 5-1 down in the first-set tiebreaker to win the opening set, then was broken twice in the second set.Canada's Milos Raonic has advanced to the quarter-finals at the Australian Open for the third straight year after a 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday in Melbourne.
But Bautista Agut began to falter midway through the third set when the roof at Hisense Arena was closed due to a passing rain shower, and he later had to call for a trainer to work on his leg.
"I was very fortunate to get through today," Raonic said. "There were moments where it wasn't looking so good."
The Thornhill, Ont. product hit 33 aces and 75 winners but had nine double-faults and 55 unforced errors, and seemed to get on a roll after spiking his racket into the court in frustration in the ninth game of the third set.
"I'm happy that I was able to find a way to pull through," he said.
Asked during the brief post match on court interview how his body was feeling, Raonic's one word reply was "fantastic."
Raonic is seeded third for the first time at a Grand Slam, and the top two seeds, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, are already out of the tournament.
He next plays former champion Rafael Nadal of Spain, who defeated Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Nadal won the Australian Open in 2009.
Serena reaches quarters
Serena Williams scrapped her way into the quarters in the women's draw, working around a misfiring serve and a rash of unforced errors to beat Barbora Strycova as the heat intensified on Monday.
She had a little bit of luck in some big moments, but created it herself by staying in points against the No. 16-ranked Strycova, who made the No. 2-ranked Williams engage in more and longer rallies than anyone so far in the tournament.
Despite the four service breaks (three in the first set), and with the fluky net cord and the off-balance, scrunched-shoulder backhand that bounced flatly and clinched her the first set on her eighth set point, Williams found a way to win 7-5, 6-4.
That keeps Williams on track in her bid for an Open-era record 23rd Grand Slam title. If she gets there, the 35-year-old American will regain the No. 1 ranking as well.
"I feel like it was really good for me to win on probably not my best day, which is always good, because sometimes you rely on one shot and if it goes off, and then, like, what happens now?" Williams said. "It was really good for me to almost lose that so I know my other game is going pretty good, too."
Serena Williams Stutters Into Australian Open Quarters1:07
Next up, she'll face No. 9 Johanna Konta, who beat Ekaterina Makarova for the second straight year in the fourth round.
The 2016 semifinalist was only broken once and broke Makarova four times.
"That's an incredible experience for me. She's one of the few players still playing I watched growing up," Konta said of Williams. "It's an incredible honour and I can't wait to share the court with her."
7 service breaks in 1st set
The match started with four straight service breaks, with only two points going with serve, until Williams held for a 3-2 lead. There were seven service breaks in the first set — with Williams getting the decisive one in the 12th game.
She broke Strycova's serve early in the second to establish a lead but was broken while serving for the match. She finished off in the next game with another break of her own, her sixth of the match.
"It's good to know I have a plan B or option 2, I wasn't serving my greatest today, also she was putting a lot of returns in there," said Williams, who had a first-serve percentage of 45, and made four double-faults. "It's always good to have something to improve on."
'I love pressure'
The second-seeded Williams advanced to quarterfinals at Melbourne Park for the 11th time since 2001 — she's only ever lost three times here in that round.
Angelique Kerber, who beat Williams in the final here last year and then ended the 22-time Grand Slam winner's 186-week streak at No. 1 by winning the U.S. Open, was upset in the fourth round in a straight-sets loss to Coco Vandeweghe the previous night.
"I love pressure. I feel like I deal well with pressure," said Williams, who has won the Australian Open six times. "I love the game. Honestly I have nothing to lose. I've won enough. … Everything is a bonus for me right now. It's kind of a little relaxing."
She has never met Konta, who is 9-0 so far in 2017.