At the changeover at 4-1 down in the second, Zverev bashed his racquet off the ground repeatedly until it was a crumpled mess
Fourth seed Alexander Zverev was dumped out of the Australian Open in spectacular fashion by Milos Raonic yesterday, while Serena Williams survived a challenge from world nNo 1 Simona Halep.
Men’s top seed Novak Djokovic meanwhile advanced to the quarter-finals with a 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-3 victory in three hours over Russian Daniiil Medevdev.
Zverev, who had been considered a favourite for the title after beating Roger Federer and Djokovic en route to winning the ATP Finals in November, was defeated in the fourth round 6-1, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5).
Though the 21-year-old German broke 16th seed Raonic in the first game of the match, he went on to lose the next eight in a row, failing to hold serve until the second set.
At the changeover at 4-1 down in the second, Zverev bashed his racquet off the ground repeatedly until it was a crumpled mess.
But the release of anger did little to help him counter the Canadian.
Normally a power-server himself, Zverev committed 10 double faults and fired just six aces to Raonic’s 15 and just 21 winners to Raonic’s 45.
Though he recovered enough to save two match points at 4-5 down in the third set to level with Raonic and eventually force a tiebreak, Zverev never got back to his usual form, allowing Raonic to take the match in just two hours.
Zverev’s exit came a day after second seed Angelique Kerber was ousted 6-0, 6-2 by the unseeded American Danielle Collins, and defending champion Roger Federer was defeated by Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Raonic will face Lucas Pouille for a place in the semi-final, after the Frenchman defeated Borna Coric 6-4 (4-7), 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (7-2) in a closely-contested match to enter the quarter finals for the first time.
Williams was meanwhile pushed to a third set for the first time in the tournament, after a fightback from Romania’s Halep, who lost all of her service games in the first set.
The French Open champion appeared to read Williams better in the second, improving the accuracy of her serves and becoming more aggressive, breaking the American at 5-4 to claim the second set.
She also had the 23-time Grand Slam champion on the ropes at 3-2, forcing Williams to save three breakpoints in a game that lasted 10 minutes before Williams held serve and levelled. But Halep couldn’t match the sheer firepower of the American, who pulled out nine aces and 44 winners to two and 24 from Halep respectively.
Williams broke again to pull ahead 5-3, and held serve to claim the set and the match 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.