Stan hits 400 wins, grieving Raonic next at Australian Open
French Open champion Stan Wawrinka brought up his 400th tour-level win at the Australian Open on Saturday to set up a clash with Milos Raonic, who is in mourning for victims of a Canadian high school shooting.
Two-time women's champion Victoria Azarenka raced into the last 16 for the loss of just five games in total, and also saw Garbine Muguruza cleared from her path as the third seed crashed to Barbora Strycova.
Wawrinka, who won his first Grand Slam title in Melbourne two years ago, wielded his signature one-handed backhand to devastating effect against Lukas Rosol as he rolled the Czech 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3).
A day after Roger Federer reached 300 Grand Slam wins, the victory was the 400th on tour for the Swiss number two, who has emerged from his compatriot's shadow to establish himself among the top men's contenders.
Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian Open champion, now goes into a last-16 clash with Canada's Raonic, who was fired by his grief over the high school shooting as he overwhelmed Victor Troicki 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.
"Today's victory was for that community and a quick recovery. All of Canada, and I'm sure the world, is behind you," said an emotional Raonic, who was close to tears as he addressed the crowd after his match.
Montenegro-born Raonic, who moved to Canada as a child, later explained that thoughts of the tragedy, which left four dead in a remote community, had given him enormous intensity as he played Troicki.
"Maybe to me today's match really sort of mattered heavily, and I would do everything I can to find a way to win," he said.
"But at the end of the day, to be in that situation -- there is five (four) people that will never go back to school again.
"That's just far bigger than whatever thing I could have done on court today. It's especially difficult, when it's such a small community and it's a tragedy that's from within a certain group of people, most likely."
Towering American John Isner thundered 44 aces as he outlasted Feliciano Lopez 6-7 (8/10), 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 6-4 with David Ferrer, who beat Steve Johnson 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.
Meanwhile Azarenka, back to her best after two years of injury trouble, blew away Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka 6-1, 6-1 as she accelerated into the second week.
It opens up a path to the quarter-finals for the Belarusian, with Spanish world number three Muguruza no longer a concern after she was shocked by Czech veteran Strycova in straight sets.
"I'm pretty happy with the way I'm playing. I just want to still keep improving from match to match, because it's only getting harder from here," said Azarenka, who hit the practice court straight after the match.
Johanna Konta beat Denisa Allertova 6-2, 6-2 to become the first British woman to reach the fourth round in 29 years and set up a clash with Russia's Ekaterina Makarova, who ousted Czech player Karolina Pliskova.
© 2016 AFP