Milos Raonic waves to the crowd.

Photo : Peter Power

by Max Gao

Two days after serving his way to an enthralling three-set victory over No. 9 seed Frances Tiafoe, hometown hero Milos Raonic recorded his third win in as many meetings with Taro Daniel on Wednesday afternoon, defeating the Japanese qualifier 6-4, 6-3 to move into the third round of the 2023 National Bank Open presented by Rogers.

Raonic, who served 37 aces en route to upsetting Tiafoe on Monday night, picked up right where he left off against Daniel, against whom he had yet to lose a set. The former World No. 3 remained in control throughout, hitting a total of 15 aces, winning 90 per cent (26/29) of his first-serve points, and never facing a single break point on serve in the 90-minute encounter.

Raonic, in his return games, continued to keep the pressure on Daniel, using his big forehand to put the qualifier on the defensive. In the end, Raonic was able to convert his fifth break point — and third set point — of the opening set after one of Daniel’s forehands sailed long. The former Wimbledon finalist carried that momentum into the early stages of the second set, breaking at the first time of asking in the second game and holding on to that advantage for the rest of the match.

Read also: Diallo Scores First ATP Win in Toronto

“I’ve trained well, I’ve done all the things that I can to put myself in this position,” Raonic told Sportsnet’s Arash Madani in his post-match interview. “The challenges are what they are. I try to face each moment as best as I can. Fortunately, it’s been going well, things have been going my way, and I hope they continue to for some good amount of time.”

For a place in the quarter-finals, Raonic, playing in what may be his final tournament on Canadian soil, will now face American Mackenzie McDonald, who upset No. 7 seed Andrey Rublev in straight sets earlier in the day on Court 1.

Diallo’s run ends 

by Pete Borkowski

A day after scoring his first ever win on the ATP Tour, Gabriel Diallo was unable to claim his first Top 20 win as he was eliminated in two tight sets by Alex de Minaur. 

The speedy Aussie picked apart his 6’8” opponent, creating 12 break points and converting four. Diallo had more winners, 20 to 17, but also more unforced errors, 17-10, in the 6-4, 7-5 loss.  

In terms of style and literal stature, Diallo and de Minaur provided a stark contrast, but they were dead even through the early stages of the match. 

Diallo got the first look at a break in just the fourth game but could not convert. At 4-all, he went down love-40 on his own serve and fell just short of digging himself out of the hole, dropping serve on the the third break point. 

De Minaur carried the momentum into the second set, breaking in the opening game. But the Canadian responded immediately with a three-game run of his own to take a 3-1 lead. 

The back and forth continued with de Minaur drawing level at 3-3. After Diallo held to go up 5-4, it was all de Minaur the rest of the way as he won 12 of the next 13 points to put an end to the Canadian’s run.