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Gasquet blunts Raonic serve to reach quarter-finals

Milos Raonic of Canada (R) congratulates Richard Gasquet of France after Gasquet's win at the U.S. Open tennis championships in New York, Se
Milos Raonic of Canada (R) congratulates Richard Gasquet of France after Gasquet's win at the U.S. Open tennis championships in New York, Se

By Julian Linden

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Frenchman Richard Gasquet saved a match point and survived a barrage of heavy shots from Canada's Milos Raonic before booking a spot in the quarter-finals of the U.S. Open on Monday.

Raonic thumped 39 aces past Gasquet but the eighth seed waited for his opportunities, winning 6-7(4) 7-6(4) 2-6 7-6(9) 7-5 after an exhausting slugfest that lasted four hours and 40 minutes.

Raonic also hit a staggering total of 102 winners but paid the price for coughing up unforced errors, more than twice as many as Gasquet.

"I had to stay patient," said Gasquet. "I took a lot of aces today.

"I got lucky in the fourth set tiebreaker when I saved a match point, then I played an incredible fifth set."

The 27-year-old Frenchman has been a consistent performer on the professional circuit since 2002 but this was just the second time he made it to a grand slam quarter-final.

The only other occasion was when he made the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2007.

His opponent in the next round is Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer, who advanced after a hard-fought 7-6(2) 3-6 7-5 7-6(3) win over Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic.

For Raonic, a 22-year-old moving quickly up the rankings, it was a bitter loss as he was on the verge of becoming the first Canadian man to reach the singles quarter-finals of a grand slam since Mike Belkin at the Australian Open in 1968.

"He played better down the stretch than I did. I think that was pretty clear," Raonic said.

"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."

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury / Ian Ransom)

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