Despite Joao Sousa putting up a strong resistance, Canadian Milos Raonic overcame his Portuguese opponent to win his seventh ATP World Tour title on Sunday in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Raonic won the ATP 250 event 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 stealing one break each in the first and third sets to take his first tournament of 2015.
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Up 2-1 in the opening set, Raonic broke Sousa in the fourth game before consolidating to take a 4-1 lead. Up 5-3 and on set point, Raonic slammed an ace – his ninth of 22 in the match – to close out the opener.
Sousa saved several break points at the start of the second set before taking one from Raonic. That difference set up the Portuguese challenger to even the match at one set apiece.
Raonic executed on his chances in the decider, winning the first three games of the third set to put Sousa in a deep deficit. Up 5-3, Raonic won the championship on serve when Sousa sent a service return long.
“It was a very difficult match, very high quality and I’m fortunate to be able to say I won that,” Raonic said in the post-match interview on court.
“(The score) was a lot closer than that, we both had a lot of opportunities. I had a lot at the beginning of the second set, he had a lot at the beginning of the third. I’m just happy with the way that I competed and that I was able to close that out.”
Raonic – the tournament’s second seed – is ranked ninth in the world, Sousa is 53rd.
Raonic’s career ATP titles:
2015: St. Petersburg
2013: Bangkok, San Jose
2012: San Jose, Chennai
2011: San Jose