Tennis superstar and London 2012 Olympian Milos Raonic‘s 2016 season is off to a dream start after the Canadian beat Roger Federer to win the Brisbane International on Sunday.
In a rematch of last year’s final where the Swiss icon was victorious, it was Raonic who came out on top beating Federer 6-4, 6-4.
After trading service games throughout the opening set, Raonic broke Federer at the business end to take a 5-4 lead before serving out to a 1-0 lead.
Raonic won his next break point midway through the second set to lead 4-3, the held his next two service games to take his eighth career ATP World Tour title.
Raonic’s focus was such that at no point did he expose himself to a potential break point opportunity for the always dangerous Federer.
“It does great things,” Raonic said of his win in Brisbane ahead of the Australian Open. “It signifies within the team how concrete and good the work we’re doing is,” the Canadian said of the changes he made in the offseason – including a break with coach Ivan Ljubicic – following an injury-plagued 2015. “At the same time, with the difficulties I’ve had last year, it’s maybe a good way for me to show the other guys I will face going in Melbourne, you know, I’ve got my stuff back together and I can play some good tennis again.”
Part of the Australian Open Series, Brisbane is an ATP World Tour 250 event that attracted the likes of Federer, US Open Champion Marin Cilic, hard serving Grigor Dimitrov and arguably the game’s best service returner in Kei Nishikori.
Raonic got to the final beating Ivan Dodig, Lucas Pouille and Bernard Tomic (more on this below) on way to meeting Federer. Throughout the tournament the Canadian dropped just one set in four matches.
This being an Olympic year and Raonic’s commitment to representing Canada on the international stage never in question, Canadian sport fans will do well to take note of the country’s top player’s resurgence and determination.
All eight of Raonic’s ATP titles have come on hardcourt, the same type of surface that will be employed at Rio de Janeiro during the Olympic Games.
Winning a pair of tiebreaks to take each set gave Milos Raonic a return ticket to the Brisbane International final for the second consecutive season on Saturday in Australia.
At the ATP 250 tournament that’s one of the warm-ups to the Australian Open, Raonic beat a fellow hard-serving tour player in Bernard Tomic 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5) in the semifinals to advance.
Neither the Canadian nor the Australian gave up a single break point, with Raonic saving four to Tomic’s two. Early mini-breaks in each of the two tiebreaks swayed the tie in Raonic’s favour as he gets set for the final taking place at 4 a.m. ET, Sunday on Sportsnet One.
Awaiting Raonic once again is Roger Federer, who beat Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-1, 6-4. Last year Raonic and Federer met in the final of this tournament where the Swiss legend beat Raonic in three sets 6-4 6-7 (2), 6-4.
Federer is the top seed in Brisbane, while Raonic is seeded fourth. Other top seeds in this tournament that fell along the way include no. 2 Kei Nishikori of Japan and current US Open Champion, Croatia’s Marin Cilic (no. 3).
Milos Raonic is through to the semifinals of the Brisbane International in an ATP World Tour tune-up to the Australian Open, beating Lucas Pouille of France.
The Canadian topped the Frenchman 6-4, 6-4 in 76 minutes, winning 93% of his first serve points in the process on Thursday night (Friday in Brisbane). The win sets up a showdown with either Bernard Tomic or Kei Nishikori in the semifinals.
Raonic reached the final of this tournament a year ago, losing to Roger Federer in the final. Federer is the top ranked player in Brisbane again this year and has a quarterfinal match ahead. Raonic opened his account on Wednesday (more on this below) with a second round win over Ivan Dodig following a first round bye.
After receiving a first round bye, Raonic faced a difficult match against Croatia’s Ivan Dodig, losing set one 6-7 (2) on Wednesday (Thursday in Brisbane). The Canadian came back to win the second set 6-1 and the third 6-4 to advance to the quarterfinals, suggesting his nagging foot injury may be behind him. Raonic will face Lucas Pouille of France at approximately 8:00pm ET on Thursday (for those following from Canada) in the quarterfinals.
Bouchard falls after winning two matches in China
Eugenie Bouchard started 2016 winning her first two matches of the Shenzhen Open in China. Bouchard opened the tournament with a victory over Croatia’s Donna Vekic (6-4, 1-6, 7-5) and followed up with a 6-4, 6-4 win against American Nicole Gibbs. Then Bouchard went up against Hungaria’s Timea Babos in a difficult quarterfinal match losing 6-4, 6-4. Next up, Bouchard will compete in the Hobart International Tennis Tournament in Australia ahead of the first major of the season.
Daniel Nestor’s 1000th win put on hold
Daniel Nestor will have to wait for his 1000th career win, after he and Czech partner Radek Štěpánek lost in the first round of the Brisbane International doubles tournament. The pair faced Finland’s Henri Kontinen and Austrailia’s John Peers in the men’s double tournament losing in two sets 6-3, 6-3.
Pospisil edged out of Chennai
Vasek Pospisil began 2016 at the Chennai Open, facing the tournament’s 2015 runner-up, Aljaz Bedene. The match went nearly point for point throughout both sets, but ultimately it was Great Britian’s Bedene who claimed a 7-5, 7-6(6) victory to eliminate Pospisil from the tournament.
With the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on the horizon, the four players above are the top athletes to watch from Tennis Canada. For more athletes to keep an eye this Olympic year read 16 Team Canada Stories to follow in 2016.