MELBOURNE, Australia -- Milos Raonic completed a career Slam of his own Monday at the Australian Open.
With a five-set 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-3 win against No. 4 Stan Wawrinka, Raonic became the first Canadian to reach all four major quarterfinals.
Raonic credits overcoming frustration with himself for his blazing start to the season. Feeling stagnant with his game, Raonic said it was time to start moving forward -- literally.
"I was volleying the first volley really well," Raonic said. "I was finishing the points. I was putting pressure on him. I was giving him a situation maybe that he wasn't too comfortable in. ... I think I came in more than 80 times."
Eighty-three, to be exact.
Raonic, the No. 13 seed, rolled through the first two sets without much resistance, even breaking his opponent four times.
Perhaps liberated by nothing to lose at this point, Wawrinka began to loosen up in the third. At 5-5, he capitalized on a loose game from Raonic.
The Canadian, who had won 58 of 60 service games in the tournament, was broken when he ended a five-point rally with a forehand he pushed well long of the baseline.
Five points later, Wawrinka held to push the match to the fourth. From there, he hit his groundstrokes with greater aplomb and capitalized on Raonic's untimely mistakes, eventually tying the match at two sets all.
But in the sixth game of the final frame, Wawrinka missed a forehand badly on break point, giving Raonic a lead he never relinquished.
Finally, after five tries, Raonic had beaten Wawrinka.
"I'm very happy with the way I played, the way I competed," Raonic said. "The way I turned things around after sort of having the momentum against me going into the fifth. I'm happy the situation I've put myself in. At the same time, as happy as I am, my mind's already on what's the process for my next challenge."
Two of the biggest servers in the game, there was not a single tiebreaker in the match, which speaks largely to Raonic's improved return game.
"It was more about what it always comes down to with me -- to dictate and find a rhythm," Raonic said.
Raonic, who beat Roger Federer to win the Brisbane International in the season's opening week, improved his record to 8-0 this season, one win shy of his personal best. He attributes a lot of his success to new coach, former French Open winner Carlos Moya."
"He just brings a calm and understanding of how I can be more efficient in my game," Raonic said "Today a great example of that."
After 11 attempts, the Frenchman made his first Australian Open quarterfinal.
The 23rd seed, Monfils won 15 of 16 points approaches, but it's the shot he didn't capitalize on that created the bulk of the buzz.
In the middle of the second set, he went into full Superman mode, diving wildly at a shot Kuznetsov hit behind him. Monfils, arms and legs air bound, managed to get his racket on the ball, but it dribbled into the net.
Monfils was then forced to take a 10-minute medical timeout to tape his bloody fingers.
"It's like instinct," Monfils said. "Like some soccer player. I don't know how to say it in English, but they jump and they do it. It's just natural.
"I always say, people think is like why I will throw myself to the floor for nothing. I do it because I know I can do it. That the only thing. People need to understand that if I dive, it's because I know I can dive. That's it."
"I cannot even grip anything right now," Monfils conceded. "I have a deep cut. That's nothing. But I have a bruise. I'm lucky to do not have fracture. During the point, I feel that I can have it. So I just do it because I think I have the ability to do it. But you know, I'm not a rock."
Monfils dropped that set but won the last two to advance.
Encouraging news, though it should be noted that through four rounds Monfils has yet to face anyone in the top 60.
"Milos is in good form," Monfils said. "Coming in with a win in Brisbane. As we know, a big serve. Actually I think also a little bit he improve a lot his movement, hitting big from the baseline, a good return. It's going to be interesting to see with what I going to come up with."