LONDON — Battling both his opponent’s powerful serve and his own injury-prone body, Canadian Milos Raonic made a quarterfinal exit at Wimbledon for the second year in a row.
Raonic, the No. 13 seed at the All England Club, lost 6-7 (5), 7-6 (7), 6-4, 6-3 against No. 9 seed John Isner of the U.S., on Wednesday in a battle between two of the most powerful servers in tennis.
After the match, Raonic said he felt like he tore a muscle in his right leg in the first set. He called for a trainer to tape it up while up 6-5 in the first.
“I don’t know to what extent,” Raonic said. “That’s sort of the sensation I had.”
Raonic said the injury bothered him while serving and any time he got low at the net.
“There wasn’t much going on from the baseline or at the net,” he said. ”It was only going down for one shot. To sort of transfer the weight, to be able to jump to my serve, because I was doing that every single point I was serving, was the toughest part.”
The tennis star from Thornhill, Ont., is no stranger to injury, having pulled out of last month’s Queen’s Club tournament with a right pectoral strain and missing much of the clay-court season, including the French Open, with an undisclosed ailment.
The former world No. 3 also had an injury-riddled 2017 campaign, including a seven-week absence due to wrist surgery that cost him a chance to play at the U.S. Open.
The injured leg aside, Wednesday’s match played out as expected between two hard servers with limited mobility.
“I think it was pretty by the script,” Raonic said. ”There wasn’t many chances. As long as I could hold it, I tried to. Just sort of kept slipping away from me slowly.”
Isner is the only player at Wimbledon this year not to have had his serve broken — and Raonic had just one break-point opportunity against the six-foot-10 American. Isner responded with an ace on that occasion and then went on to take the third set.
Isner, meanwhile, converted on three of six break-point chances. The first break-point opportunity of the match came in the third set, and Isner made the most of it to go up 3-2.
Raonic said he knew it would be tough to rebound once he got down a break in the fourth.
“Before that, I can hope to hold, try to put a few things here together, play maybe a good return point or two in the tiebreak, maybe take care of my serve,” he said. “But just once I got behind a break, it was going to be tough.”
Isner fought off a set point in the second set, which marked the eighth straight set to go to a tiebreaker between the two players.
Raonic, fell two wins short of matching his best showing at Wimbledon — a runner-up finish in 2016.
Isner will face No. 8 seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa in the semifinals. Anderson upset top seed Roger Federer of Switzerland on Wednesday.
Provided the injury is not serious, Raonic could make a return at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, which starts Aug. 4.
Meanwhile, Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski is heading to the semifinals in women’s doubles.
The Ottawa native and partner Yifan Xu of China, the tournament’s sixth seeds, defeated the unseeded pair of Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the U.S., and Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in a quarterfinal on Wednesday.
It marks the best women’s doubles showing at a Grand Slam for the 26-year-old Dabrowski, who advanced to the quarterfinals with Xu at the 2017 U.S. Open and 2018 Australian Open.
Dabrowski and Xu will face No. 12 seeds Nicole Melichar of the U.S. and Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic in the semifinals.
Dabrowski has won two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles — the 2018 Australian Open with Mate Pavic and 2017 French Open with Rohan Bopanna.
Pavic and Dabrowski, the top mixed doubles seeds, lost in the third round at Wimbledon.