Interesting that Ivan Lendl was in the stands in Barcelona today watching his prize pupil, Andy Murray, being beaten on red clay by surging Canadian star Milos Raonic.
It was Lendl, after all, who was involved in what might have been, until Raonic's win over Murray, the most significant ATP tour victory by a Canadian ever.
That was back in June, 1991 at Queen's Club, a grass tourney regarded as a warmup to Wimbledon. Lendl was the third-ranked player in the world, but that day he was beaten by Canada's Grant Connell in a stunning three-set upset.
That was a second-round match, however, compared to the 25th ranked Raonic's quarterfinal triumph today in Barcelona over Murray, the No. 4 ranked player in the world.
The other significant win by a Canadian player on tour - not counting, of course, Daniel Nestor's 1992 win over world No. 1 Stefan Edberg, which was in Davis Cup competition - came in 2007 when Frank Dancevic defeated Andy Roddick, then No. 5 in the world, in a semifinal match at Indianapolis.
It was the biggest career win for Dancevic, who went on to lose the final to Dmitry Tursonov.
That said, Raonic is on a completely different career curve, one that could land him in the top 10 before the year is over.
The win over Murray matters for a number of reasons beyond the fact it put Raonic into the semifinals against jackrabbit David Ferrer of Spain, currently No. 6 on the planet.
For starters, it came on clay, not considered until now to be Raonic's best surface because it takes a bite out of his massive serve. Also, Murray is regarded as one of the better returners in the game, but Raonic was still able to ace the Scotsman 14 times and win 84 per cent of his points on first serve in the 6-4, 7-6 (3) triumph.
As well, Murray is extremely fit and a grinder, but Raonic was able to stay in points longer than previous matches against highly ranked players on clay, and clinched the match by winning a 12-stroke point. Murray is a wily, resourceful veteran with great variety to his game, but Raonic was able to stick to his game plan and, for the most part, overpower his opponent.
Finally, the win came a week after Raonic himself was upset in Monte Carlo by Alberto Montanes, evidence of the Canadian's growing maturity and ability to bounce back from defeat.
Murray is the highest-ranked player Raonic has ever beaten, and it came one day after he beat the world's No. 13 player, Nicolas Almagro of Spain.