Tennis: Raonic overcomes Simon, flu to reach last 16

Milos Raonic beat Gilles Simon 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-3.
Milos Raonic beat Gilles Simon 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-3. PHOTO: EPA

MELBOURNE (AFP) - Flu-hit Milos Raonic negotiated tricky Frenchman Gilles Simon in four sets to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open on Saturday.

Canada's world No. 3, whose chances of making the final from the bottom half of the draw have improved following the shock exit of defending champion Novak Djokovic, beat Simon 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-3.

Raonic, who was beaten by Andy Murray in last year's semi-finals in Melbourne, will next face Spanish 13th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who knocked out David Ferrer.

Raonic said he had spent a difficult previous 48 hours with a bug that laid him low.

"I had a rough last 48 hours. But I got my energy up today much more," he said.

"I had a bad fever. I didn't come to the stadium yesterday. I just slept pretty much all day. Everything was aching."

Raonic won the opening two sets before 25th-seeded Simon rallied from a break down in the third to win four straight games and take the set.

The pair exchanged breaks in a tight fourth set before Raonic prevailed.

Raonic said he was pleased with the way he managed the match against Simon.

"Just with the attitude and the way I stuck through it. The game will always come if I give myself a chance with it," he said.

Raonic's power serve was again the major factor, contributing 21 aces among the Canadian's 55 winners. He broke Simon's service five times, and losing his own three times.

The 26-year-old became the first Canadian man to reach a Grand Slam final when he went down to world No. 1 Andy Murray at Wimbledon last year.

He was also his country's first male to reach the semi-finals at last year's Australian Open, where he also lost to the Scot.