The weather wasn’t the only one bringing the heat on Wednesday afternoon in New York.
Milos Raonic played a sizzling level of tennis to advance to the third round of the US Open, defeating Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Having played each other for the first time over seven years ago on the clay courts of Estoril, the two have a lengthy history – and Raonic’s previous four wins to just one loss to Simon were ultimately telling.
Raonic couldn’t have scripted a better start for himself as he was able to break the Frenchman’s serve right out of the blocks. Playing at a higher level with tidier tennis than he did in his first round against Carlos Berlocq, the Canadian dominated with his serve and made great use of the high-bouncing conditions of the US Open courts.
After securing the first set, Raonic maintained consistency on his serve until he was able to have a look at breaking Simon’s once more – an opportunity he was able to capitalize on this courtesy of a couple extended rallies (including one 28-shot exchange!) Despite facing break point while attempting to serve out the second set, the former World No. 3 was able to hang on and claim it, nudging ahead of his long-time rival by two sets to none after one hour, 20 minutes.
In the third set, Raonic, who has never gone beyond the fourth round at the US Open, was able to secure an early break once again. Unlike the second set, there would be no nerves — he closed out the match with a confident hold, scoring his fifth victory over Simon and securing his spot in the round of 32.
Up next for the 27-year-old from Thornhill, ON is 2016 US Open champion Stan Wawrinka, who backed up his first-round upset over No. 8 seed Grigor Dimitrov with a four-set win over French qualifier Ugo Humbert. Wawrinka leads his head-to-head with Raonic 4-1, but Raonic was victorious in their most recent meeting at the Australian Open in 2016, which was a hard-fought five-set epic.