Milos Raonic pumps his and looks up at the sky.

Photo : Peter Power

Five years ago, Milos Raonic left Centre Court at Sobeys Stadium after a shock loss to Frances Tiafoe.

It would be five years before the missile from Thornhill returned to his home event. And when he did, he found himself up against the same opponent, who was now ranked 10th in the world.

This time, despite all the time away in the sport, Raonic had the answers, specifically in the form of his mighty serve, as he overcame a bizarre end to the first set tiebreak to rally for a 6-7(12), 7-6(4), 6-3 win.

In the process, Raonic raised $740 for the Tennis Plays for Peace initiative, which provides support to Ukrainian families affected by the war, as for each ace struck, Tennis Canada and ATP Serves will donate $10 each. Along with Tiafoe’s eight aces, the match raised a total of $900 for Ukrainian families.

Read More About Raonic’s Big Win on the National Bank Open Website

Raonic will meet Taro Daniel in round two. The Canadian has won all five previous sets between the two, all on hard courts.

Galarneau comes oh so close

Alexis Galarneau came agonizingly close to scoring his first ATP Tour win on Monday as he kicked off play at the National Bank Open in Toronto, but he could not hang on to upset Francisco Cerundolo and fell in three sets. 

After trailing by a set and a break, the recent Granby champion turned the match around and led by a break in the deciding set but ultimately suffered a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 loss. 

Follow the results on Monday at the National Bank Open in Toronto

Coming onto court an hour after their initial start time, it was Galarneau looking more comfortable early as he held a couple of break points in Cerundolo’s opening service game. 

But a brief stoppage because of the rain blunted his momentum and the Argentine took charge, holding serve before breaking in the following game to take the lead. 

Cerundolo looked well on his way to victory when Galarneau missed a couple of forehands to give away a break midway through the second set, putting the Argentine up a set and 3-2. But the Canadian settled back down and got back to frustrating Cerundolo with his counterpunching. 

Read also: Canada’s Davis Cup Title Prominent on Day One of Main Draw Play in Toronto

Galarneau immediately broke back and then turned up the heat as the Argentine served at 4-5. With the home fans heavily in his corner, the Canadian went up triple break/set point and ripped a backhand winner up the line to level the match. 

The momentum carried into the final set as Galarneau broke early and raced out to a 3-0 lead with break points for 4-0. But after Cerundolo held, it swung back the other way as the Argentine won the next five games in a row, eventually securing the win. 

Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil will be playing in the night session in Toronto. 

Marino, Pospisil Bow Out

Rebecca Marino was the only Canadian competing on day on in Montreal, but was no match for qualifier Katie Boulter who bounced the Canadian in straight sets.

Boulter had a good read on the mighty Marino serve, creating seven break points and converting four. She also saved all four she faced in a 6-3, 6-1 win.

Read also: Galarneau Participates in ATP vs NHL Ball Hockey Game

Both Leylah Annie Fernandez and Bianca Andreescu will kick off their campaigns on Tuesday.

Vasek Pospisil followed suit, falling to qualifier Matteo Arnaldi in straight sets in the final match of the day in Toronto.

The Davis Cup champion got off to a quick start with a break in his first return game of the match, but from there the Italian took over and claimed a 6-4, 6-4 win.

Gabriel Diallo and Felix Auger-Aliassime are the last two Canadian men to play their first matches on Tuesday.