Raonic Races Through Montreal Opener, Faces Countryman Next
Fans in Montreal roared as their home favourite Milos Raonic walked on Court Central to kick off the Coupe Rogers, Canada’s ATP Masters 1000 tournament. The former World No. 3 did not leave his fans disappointed.
Raonic dismissed Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 12 minutes. Pouille defeated Raonic earlier this year in the Australian Open quarter-finals, but the Canadian got his revenge to take a 4-1 lead in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
“Overall today I have to be happy with the way I did things,” said Raonic. “I thought I came out, I executed on the things I wanted to do. I knew it was going to be a difficult match. I found a way to sort of get a hold of it and play on my terms.”
The No. 17 seed is guaranteed to face one of his countrymen in the second round. He will play #NextGenATP star Felix Auger-Aliassime or 2013 Montreal semi-finalist Vasek Pospisil, whom Raonic defeated in the last four that year.
“I think when I started out on tour, it was something obviously more rare,” Raonic said. “Now with six of us on tour, now especially this week, six of us being in the main draw, it was bound to happen to some extent… Obviously I wish as players, for everybody, everybody could be more evenly spread out. They play first round, then I await the winner of that match. That’s just how it plays out sometimes. It’s unfortunate it played out that way at home.”
German Jan-Lennard Struff continued his strong season with a 6-2, 6-2 victory against wild card and 2014 champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Struff dominated on serve, saving the only break point he faced, and the World No. 35 won 51 per cent of his return points, breaking four times. Struff will play No. 13 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili or Monte-Carlo finalist Dusan Lajovic.
American qualifier Tommy Paul needed only 65 minutes to get past Canadian wild card Brayden Schnur 6-1, 6-2, while Brit Cameron Norrie battled from a set down to defeat Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 after two hours and seven minutes. Chilean Cristian Garin, who has captured two ATP Tour titles this season, ousted Serbian Laslo Djere 6-2, 7-6(4) after one hour and 41 minutes.
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#NextGenATP Canadian star Denis Shapovalov, who made a magical run to the Montreal semi-finals in 2017, begins his tournament during the evening session against Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert. His countryman, Auger-Aliassime, partners Pospisil against Frenchmen Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin in the first round of doubles.