Raonic rallies to reach Indian Wells fourth round

Milos Raonic of Canada rallies from 4-1 down in the third set to beat American Marcos Giron in the third round of the ATP Indian Wells Masters. (AFP pic)

INDIAN WELLS: Canadian Milos Raonic survived a scare from 217th-ranked qualifier Marcos Giron Monday, rallying in the third set for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory in the third round of the ATP Indian Wells Masters.

Giron, 25, looked set to claim the biggest win of a career that has been hindered by two hip operations when he took a 4-1 lead in the third set.

But Raonic, runner-up at Indian Wells in 2016, called on all of his experience to turn things around against the American, who had never won two ATP Tour matches in a row until this week.

“I just stuck to my game plan,” Raonic said. “I’m proud of the way I competed today. That’s what got me through.”

Raonic next faces either 18-year-old compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime or Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, who took the court later Monday.

Auger-Aliassime, who received a wild card into the draw after reaching his first ATP final at Rio de Janeiro last month, claimed his first win over a top-10 rival when he routed 10th-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-2 in the second round.

World number one Novak Djokovic, playing his first tournament since grabbing a record seventh Australian Open title in January, headlined the night session in a third-round clash with Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Djokovic has won eight of his nine career encounters with the German veteran ranked 39th in the world, including matches at Indian Wells in 2008, 2010 and 2016.

The Serb star’s second-round victory over Bjorn Fratangelo was his 50th at Indian Wells, where he’s trying to break out of a tie with Roger Federer for most titles by claiming a sixth.

Kohlschreiber ended Nick Kyrgios’s five-match winning streak in the second round.

Third-seeded Alexander Zverev took a 4-0 record over German compatriot Jan-Lennard Struff into their third-round clash.

Zverev, owner of three Masters 1000 titles, has never made it to the quarters at Indian Wells.