It didn’t go all Milos Raonic’s way on Stadium 1 at the BNP Paribas Open, where the Canadian faced surprise-package Marcos Giron on Monday. Ultimately, a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win ensured the 28-year-old qualified for the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open, but he’ll be the first to admit it wasn’t a straightforward victory by any means.

Ranked 217, Raonic’s opponent started the match well, holding his serve despite facing some fierce forehands from the Canadian. As the first set wore on, however, it became clear the American, who beat Jérémy Chardy in round one followed by 23rd-seed Alex de Minaur in round two, wasn’t just here to make up the numbers. He stood up to the challenge of a Raonic break point opportunity in the seventh game before breaking the Canadian’s serve to claim the first set 6-4.

The question beckoned – how long could Giron keep this up? The answer: longer than you’d think.

Raonic, seeded 13th in the southern California desert, forced three break points in a draining third game, which lasted nearly ten minutes, but just couldn’t manufacture a way past his opponent. However, the Canadian made sure he wouldn’t miss his next opportunity, finally breaking Giron’s serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead in the second set, which he went on to win 6-4.

The third and deciding set didn’t start well for Raonic. Giron raced to a 40:0 lead on the Canadian’s serve in the second game and, despite pulling a point back, a frustrated Raonic was unable to prevent the American from claiming the break. At that point, it looked sure Giron would go on to win the match.

But Raonic had other ideas.

By breaking the American’s serve in the seventh game, Canada’s no. 1 forced his way right back into the contest. He suddenly had a new lease of life, winning the following game without dropping a point. Then came the major breakthrough. At 4-4, the Canadian forced yet another break point opportunity, which he took via a booming forehand down the line.

Raonic capped off the final game with the type of serving performance worthy of winning such a hard-fought match, with the 28-year-old picking off Giron expertly to seal his passage through to the round of 16.

(Feature photo: Mauricio Paiz)