After days of rain delays at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart, Milos Raonic finally got his grass-court season started – and did so with an emphatic win over Mirza Basic, 7-6(8), 6-2.
Basic, who earlier this season earned his first ATP World Tour title in Sofia, was unable to make a dent in Raonic’s service games, winning just 17% of return points. Raonic’s serve was particularly lethal as he struck 15 aces and dropped just one point behind a 62% first-serve delivery. He managed to generate eight break points, taking two of them in the second set, to eventually coast to a one-hour, 23-minute victory.
The former Wimbledon runner-up, who is playing in Germany for the first time since 2014, has had a season of ups and downs following an injury-laden 2017. He reached the semifinals of Indian Wells and the quarterfinals of Miami in March, before notching a knee injury early in the clay season. Returning for his favourite swing of the season, Raonic has his sights set on replicating his Wimbledon performance from two years ago – and go one step further.
— Milos Raonic (@milosraonic) June 13, 2018
But he can’t look too far ahead. Up next for the 27-year-old Canadian is Marton Fucsovics tomorrow on the MercedesCup Centre Court.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Canadians today, as Denis Shapovaov, seeded sixth in Stuttgart, fell 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-3 to qualifier Prajnesh Gunneswaran. Despite hitting eight aces, the 19-year-old was broken four times in just his fourth opening-round loss of the season.
In ATP Challenger Tour action, Brayden Schnur earned a hard-fought win over Tatsuma Ito of Japan, prevailing 6-3, 3-6, 7-5(5) at the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham. Up next for Schnur is Daniel Evans of Great Britain.
Defending champion Félix Auger-Aliassime continued his title defense in Lyon, leading Antoine Hoang 6-3, 4-5 before play was suspended due to darkness.
(Feature photo: @milosraonic)