MELBOURNE, Australia – Milos Raonic played through pain after an apparent thigh injury as he missed his bid Friday to become the first Canadian man to reach a Grand Slam final.
The 25-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., spent more than four hours battling Andy Murray before the second-seeded Scot produced a 4-6, 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2 victory to move into Sunday’s Australian Open final against Novak Djokovic.
The problems for Raonic began as he led Murray two sets to one and up 2-1 in the fourth set when he needed treatment off court for his leg.
When he returned, his big-hitting game faded and errors mounted as the clock moved towards midnight at the Rod Laver Arena.
“It’s unfortunate … probably the most heartbroken I’ve felt on court, but that’s what it is,” Raonic said following the match. “I was going to play and try to do whatever I could.”
Raonic had been hoping to join Eugenie Bouchard in the rarefied circle of Canadians who have reached Grand Slam finals – Bouchard did it at Wimbledon in 2014.
He’s now played and lost two Grand Slam semifinals after going out to Roger Federer at Wimbledon two years ago.
The loss was Raonic’s first in 2016 after winning the Brisbane title – the eighth title of his career.
The Canadian was able to use his massive serve to good effect throughout much of the match, firing 23 aces. But his unforced error count over four hours hit 78, countered by 72 winners and just one break of Murray’s serve.
Raonic uncharacteristically smashed his racket after going down a break in the fifth set.
“I sort of lashed out at the start of the fifth set. That was sort of the whole frustration of everything sort of getting out. I don’t think that’s like myself to do, but sometimes it’s a little bit too much to keep in,” he said.
“I was going to fight and see what I could make of it, but it wasn’t looking that great.”
Murray, meantime, reached the ninth Grand Slam final of his career.
Canadian Daniel Nestor is set to play in the men’s doubles final on Saturday with Czech partner Radek Stepanek.
Raonic said he’s in no rush to determine the extent of his muscle injury.
“I’m not in the mental state where I would be seeing a doctor to get a recommendation today. Maybe that happens tomorrow or whenever I feel like I’m ready to face that situation. When that comes, I’ll deal with it accordingly.”
© 2016 The Canadian Press