Kyrgios battles injury as Raonic crashes out

BRISBANE, Australia — Australian third seed Nick Kyrgios overcame a leg injury to reach the quarterfinals of the Brisbane International on Wednesday as fourth seed Milos Raonic was bundled out by wildcard Alex De Minaur.

Kyrgios came back from losing the first set to fellow Australian Matthew Ebden to win 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, finishing the match with his leg heavily strapped. In the late match on Pat Rafter Arena, 18-year-old De Minaur had the biggest win of his career when he stunned former champion Raonic 6-4, 6-4.

Raonic has not played since October because of calf and wrist problems and he looked rusty against De Minaur, making a host of unforced errors. De Minaur was also able to handle the Canadian's huge serve, breaking him once in the first set then twice in the second to open a 5-2 lead.

Raonic managed to get one back as De Minaur faltered while serving for the match for the first time. But he held his nerve on his second attempt and closed out the victory to set up a surprise quarterfinal against American qualifier Michael Mmoh.

Mmoh upset Germany's eighth seed Mischa Zverev 6-2, 5-7, 6-4. Earlier, Kyrgios took to the court with tape on the back of his left knee.

After losing the first set in a tiebreaker, the third seed had his leg heavily strapped and came back to win the next two, allaying any fears he might join the long injury list at the top of men's tennis.

"A couple of days out (from the tournament) I was playing some points with Lleyton (Hewitt) and then I kind of felt my knee a bit," he said. "I've been kind of nursing it the last day or two but didn't really know what it was."

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and second seed Andy Murray were both high-profile casualties in the men's draw. Nadal pulled out last week while Murray withdrew on Tuesday, before he had played his first match. Both are now in doubt for the Australian Open.

Kyrgios will next play tricky Ukranian Alexandr Dolgopolov in the quarterfinals. Dolgopolov, the 2012 runner-up to Murray, was untroubled in his 6-1, 6-2 win over Argentina's Horacio Zeballos.

Svitolina, Pliskova storm into quarters

Ukraine's Elina Svitolina continued her impressive start to the season when she demolished Croatian Ana Konjuh 6-3, 6-1 in the second round of the Brisbane International on Wednesday.

Svitolina took just 64 minutes to see off Konjuh at the Pat Rafter Arena and book an enticing quarterfinal showdown with Britain's Johanna Konta.

She was joined in the final eight by defending champion and second seed Karolina Pliskova, who took 10 minutes less to demolish American Catherine Bellis 6-1, 6-1.

Svitolina, 23, started the week as world No. 6 but would finish it as No. 4 if she wins the tournament. She had a tough opening round win over Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro but was relatively untroubled against world No. 44 Konjuh.

Estonia's Kaia Kanepi, the 2012 champion, moved into the last eight with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko. Once ranked as high as 15th in the world, Kanepi is on the comeback trail after injury forced her out of the game in June 2016 for just over a year.

She reached last year's US Open as a qualifier and had to qualify in Brisbane as well. But her powerful serve proved too much for Tsurenko and she will now face Pliskova in the quarterfinals.

Belarusian qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich booked a quarterfinal against Frenchwoman Alize Cornet when she beat Estonia's Anett Kontaveit 1-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3. — AFP