Photo : Tennis Australia
Milos Raonic and Rebecca Marino are through to the second round of the Australian Open, each scoring victories in the opening matches of Day 1. The two veterans of Canadian tennis have had significantly different career paths since their simultaneous breakthroughs in Memphis back in 2011, but both appeared to be in fine form as they blasted their way past their respective opponents.
Against No. 91 Federico Coria, Raonic couldn’t have put on much more of a clinical performance. Rebounding impressively from a lackluster defeat at the hands of Jan-Lennard Struff last week at ATP Cup, the Canadian No. 2 smacked down 17 aces and saved the only two break points he faces to move past his Argentinean opponent – younger brother of former Top 10’er Guillermo Coria – 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in one hour, 33 minutes.
Raonic, who has a potential showdown with Novak Djokovic looming in the fourth round, will face either John Millman or Corentin Moutet in the round of 64.
Marino got off to a similarly clinical start against Aussie wild card Kimberly Birrell in their Court 7 match at Melbourne Park. Birrell, like Marino, is working her way back to full fitness after injury forced her off tour, but was unable to handle the Vancouver native’s firepower in the opening sequences of the match. In the blink of an eye, it was Marino up 6-0.
The second set was a much tighter affair, with Australian finding her legs to counter the blistering forehands and ferocious backhands off Marino’s racquet. There would ultimately be no breaks of serve in the set, with Marino letting four break points (which doubled as match points) slip through her fingers as proceedings moved into a tiebreak.
Three more match points came and went for the 30 year old, but she finally converted on her eighth overall with a one last forehand winner, fittingly.
Up next for Marino is the winner of 2019 French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova and Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson.