Milos Raonic said Wednesday he felt helpless as he was dismantled by remorseless world number one Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open.
Viewed as at the vanguard of the new young breed in men’s tennis, the big-serving Canadian eighth seed was neutralised by the power and precision of the seven-time Grand Slam champion in the quarter-finals.
The Serbian top seed ran the show, dealing out a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-2 lesson to Raonic in two hours to set up a semi-final with defending champion Stan Wawrinka.
“I just wish I could have played better. But other than that, I think he played well. He took the game and opportunities away from me,” Raonic lamented.
“He just played a sound match. Nothing I can do other than go back and fix things.”
The match slipped away from Raonic as Djokovic tightened his grip, breaking the Canadian’s huge serve three times while not conceding one break point opportunity in his 15 service games.
Raonic could only look on as Djokovic dominated proceedings with precision stroke play on the court where he has won four Australian Open crowns.
“He’s good at making a play. He does a good job at putting the return deep,” he said.
“But I think it’s not just that aspect. He did a good job also making me always, even if I’d get a short return, have to come up with a pretty good volley and so forth.
“It’s a combination of everything, not just solely his return.”
The big-serving 24-year-old, who reached the semi-finals at last year’s Wimbledon, was bidding to become the first Canadian man to reach the Australian semi-finals.
While he went into Wednesday’s match averaging around 25 aces per match, he was restricted to just 15 against Djokovic’s rapier returns.