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Raonic blasts past Mahut in Washington

Aug 02, 2017
written by: Tennis Canada

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written by: Tennis Canada

Canadians took over Stadium Court in the American capital on Wednesday afternoon. Shortly after Eugenie Bouchard defeated Christina McHale, Milos Raonic stepped up and got by Nicolas Mahut in his opening match at Citi Open.

The two remained on serve through the early stages of the match but both faced their share of pressure as they had to save break points en route to a 4-4 deadlock. Raonic was going big on his serve, hitting seven aces through his first five service games and clocking in a serve at 142 mph.

After 41 minutes of play the two headed for a tiebreak.

Costly unforced errors by Mahut surrendered the tiebreak 7-6(2) to Raonic. Mahut double faulted to by give Raonic the first mini-break for a 2-1 lead and then the Frenchman netted a forehand to fall behind a double break. Raonic served for the tiebreak up 5-2 and closed the set with an overhead smash winner and his 11th ace.

Mahut was under pressure right away in the second set as he faced two early break points. He saved them with unreturnable serves and on his first game point he passed Raonic at the net to hold for 1-0.

A moment stunned the crowd early in the second set as Raonic blasted a 151 mph ace, which he then backed up with another ace at 141 mph.

The serving performance by Raonic left everyone stunned, which perhaps included Mahut as he faced yet another break point in his following service game. The game was brought to deuce and Raonic worked up another break point, and this time he was able to capitalize as Mahut hit a forehand long of the baseline to give up the first break of the match.

An uncharacteristic run of three double faults in a row from Raonic eventually surrendered his break lead and let Mahut back into the second set at 4-4. Raonic, who looked to be cruising towards victory, had to save a set point just to stay in the second set.

Another tiebreak would decide the second set. Again, Raonic got an early mini-break and led at the changeover 4-2. After Mahut held both of his service points, it was Raonic’s job to serve out the match. He brought up match point with a booming forehand down the line winner, but a lucky netcord for Mahut brought the tiebreak back to even terms.

Deadlocked at 8-8, Mahut pushed a volley wide and gave Raonic a third match point opportunity. Raonic stepped to the line once again to serve, and Mahut could not return it.

Raonic got his first winner of the summer hard court season 7-6(2), 7-6(8) in just under two hours. He finished with 26 aces.

Raonic is the 2014 champion in Washington where he and Vasek Pospisil contested in the first and only (so far) all-Canadian ATP final. So far this season, Raonic has made two finals – one on hard court and the other on clay. Citi Open is his first tournament of the summer’s US Open Series.

Raonic will play Marcos Baghdatis or Ryan Harrison in the third round.