MELBOURNE (AFP) — Alexander Zverev self-destructed Monday to slump out of the Australian Open at the hands of Milos Raonic, as Japanese US Open champion Naomi Osaka ground her way into an quarter-final with Elina Svitolina.
As the second week of the opening Grand Slam of the year got underway, the highly-rated German fourth seed lost the plot against the former world number three Canadian, crashing 6-1, 6-1, 7-6 (7/5).
Zverev has routinely been anointed as the flag-bearer for the next generation, but again failed to live up to his reputation and has now missed out on making the last eight of a major for the 14th time in 15 attempts.
So furious was he with his form, the 21-year-old had a major temper tantrum in the second set, whacking his racquet into the ground eight times to leave it a crumpled mess.
“I just tried to stay composed and it worked out well for me today,” said cool 16th seed Raonic, who made the semi-finals in Melbourne in 2016.
He will face Croat Borna Coric or Frenchman Lucas Pouille next.
Fourth seed Osaka emerged from an error-strewn first set against crafty Latvian Anastasija Sevastova to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The victory left the bubbly 21-year-old with a last-eight clash against ambitious Ukrainian Svitolina, who battled past American Madison Keys 6-2, 1-6, 6-1.
It will be a new experience for whoever wins that showdown, with neither of them going beyond the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park before.
This contrasts with the massively experienced Serena Williams who has made the last eight or better 11 times on her way to seven Australian Open crowns.
The 37-year-old 23-time Grand Slam winner has a blockbuster last-16 evening clash against world number one Simona Halep on Rod Laver Arena, while Novak Djokovic meets fast-rising Daniil Medvedev.