Raonic Earns First Victory Of 2018
When Milos Raonic arrived in Delray Beach last year, the Canadian was No. 4 in the ATP Rankings. But injury struggles kept the right-hander off the court for chunks of time throughout 2017.
The World No. 32 will hope that beating Taro Daniel 6-1, 7-5 on Tuesday afternoon at the Delray Beach Open for his first victory of the season will be a sign of good things to come. It is his second tour-level win in six months, as Raonic pursues a ninth ATP World Tour title.
"It's a good thing I was able to win today and it gives me a lot of things that I believe I can do better tomorrow," Raonic said. "So just got to keep building day-by-day and working my way into it and just try to get in as many wins as possible. That's the most important thing."
Last year in Delray Beach, Raonic was forced to withdraw before his championship match against Jack Sock due to a right-leg injury. He will look to improve upon a first-round performance in which he made just 39 per cent of first serves and faced two set points in the second set. The Canadian will next face home favourite Steve Johnson, who had lost eight of his past nine matches before ousting Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 6-4 in 71 minutes.
"Obviously having not played a lot of matches I was going in and out a little bit with my focus and my intensity," Raonic said. "I've got to be a bit more consistent and disciplined with that."
Raonic has won all three of his FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Johnson, but each match has included at least one tie-break. The pair has not played since 2014 Basel, where Raonic lost in the quarter-finals.
Sixth seed John Isner also got back on track in Delray Beach, avenging his loss against Moldovan Radu Albot at last week’s inaugural New York Open with a tough 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 triumph on Tuesday afternoon. It was the World No. 18’s first win of the season (1-4).
American Reilly Opelka, a wild card, pulled off the upset of the day against recent Brisbane International presented by Suncorp finalist Ryan Harrison 7-6(5), 7-6(6). The #NextGenATP contender will take on another compatriot in the second round — Sock.
Did You Know?
Both Raonic and Isner won their first match of the 2018 ATP World Tour season on Tuesday.