Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Raonic last Canuck standing at Rogers

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TORONTO -- Milos Raonic is the last Canadian left in the Rogers Cup men's tennis tournament.

Raonic disposed of Viktor Troicki of Serbia 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday, while fellow countrymen Frank Dancevic and Vasek Pospisil lost their matches.

Raonic said he felt no unusual pressure playing before his hometown crowd.

"Obviously it's a little bit different when you got on the court, but before the match I really didn't change anything the way I would normally," he said.

The 21-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., appeared completely at ease as he recorded the first Rogers Cup victory in his short, rapidly rising career.

His next opponent could be Olympic champion Andy Murray who plays in the tournament today.

"I played him earlier this year," Raonic said. "I know if I play well, I'll have my opportunities."

Earlier in the day, Juan Monaco of Argentina defeated Pospisil of Vancouver 7-5, 6-4 and Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan defeated Dancevic of Niagara Falls, Ont., 6-3, 7-5.

"I don't think there was really too much nerves," Raonic said. "Maybe one ball, I maybe overran a little bit and rushed through that point.

"But other than that, I sort of came out and was pretty fluid and relaxed throughout the match from the beginning to the end."

Near the end, Raonic said he might have tried to force things in his return game on Troicki's serve.

"I was making some sloppy errors and giving away too many points at that point," he said.

Raonic's serve is his biggest weapon and he hammered seven aces in the match that took one hour eight minutes to play.

He would like to continue to improve other aspects of his game so that as his career evolves he will be known for more than a big serve.

"I hope so," he said. "That's definitely the plan. That's what I am going to need to do if I am going to achieve the things I want to achieve.

"But no matter what, my serve is going to be my best part and probably the first thing that comes out of people's mouths when they sort of come to describe me. Maybe at one point people will get sick of talking about it and I'll be doing something else well."

Raonic gave his hometown fans lots to talk about on Tuesday. He won the first set after breaking Troicki's serve in the eighth game and then held his own serve.

The top-rated Canadian player broke service again in the third game of the second set. And then held his own serve again, finishing it off with an ace to go ahead 3-1 in the set.

Raonic overcame a couple of double faults in the sixth game of the second set to go ahead 4-2, again finishing it with an ace, his fourth of the match.

Raonic entered the tournament ranked 24th in the world and Troicki 33rd.

Raonic was at the Olympics where he lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in a long, gruelling match.

"As far as the Olympics goes, it was a really good experience," he said. "The best part was being around the other athletes. I didn't get to stay that many days during the competition. I stayed a few days before and the morning after the ceremony and I left and was staying close to Wimbledon and came back for two more."

Raonic said the most exciting part of his Olympic experience is "the feeling of being surrounded by so much greatness."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 8, 2012 D3

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