Raonic Claims All-Canadian Clash For Washington Title
World No. 7 Milos Raonic defeated countryman Vasek Pospisil 6-1, 6-4 to win the Citi Open crown on Sunday, in a high-powered battle of young guns. It was the first final between Canadians on the ATP World Tour in the Open Era.
Raonic denied Pospisil his first tour-level trophy, capturing his sixth title and first at the ATP World Tour 500 series level. He ended an 11-month title drought, having most recently claimed victory in Bangkok last September (d. Berdych).
The ATP World Tour had a double dose of young gun duels this week, with an unprecedented two finals between players born in the 1990s. On Saturday, 23-year-old David Goffin rallied to defeat Dominic Thiem at the bet-at-home Cup Kitzbühel in the first such title match in history. Fellow 23-year-old Raonic was the first player born in the ‘90s to win a tour-level crown when he won in San Jose in 2011.
"It’s great the way it started," said Raonic. "I couldn’t have asked for more. I had a chance to break in every single game in that first set. Then I continued to play solid after that. All in all, a very good performance and an important moment for me.
"I think I’m playing at a high level. I think the number I have beside my name is not a coincidence and I don’t think it would be a coincidence if it got lower."
A fitting prelude to next week’s Rogers Cup, in Toronto, Raonic earned his second win over Pospisil after emerging victorious in the Montreal semi-finals in 2013. He fired nine aces, won 92 per cent of first serve points and broke four times for the win in 68 minutes.
The Montenegrin-born right-hander earns $316,400 and 500 Emirates ATP Rankings points, moving up to No. 6 when the new rankings are released. The second seed became the first North American titlist in Washington since Andy Roddick triumphed in 2007. Moreover, Raonic pulls even with BB&T Atlanta Open champion John Isner atop the Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge Standings, with 70 points apiece.
Pospisil was looking to become the sixth player born in the '90s to win an ATP World Tour title after Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov, Bernard Tomic, Federico Delbonis and David Goffin. The Vernon native was also seeking to become the sixth first-time title winner in 2014. Players attempting to win a maiden title are 5-8 in finals this year.
"I wasn’t nervous about playing in the final," said Pospisil. "It was a combination of him playing very well and me being a little bit heavy-legged, and just ran out of a little bit of gas. It took me a little bit to get into the match, get my groove, and get the legs going. But credit to him. He played very well."
Raonic opens his Rogers Cup campaign against either Jack Sock or Jurgen Melzer following a first round bye. Pospisil begins his home quest against No. 12 seed Richard Gasquet, in a rematch of their semi-final battle in Washington.