Raonic Downs Berdych To Claim Bangkok Crown
Raonic, 23, continues his ascent with Thailand title run.
Canada's Milos Raonic stepped up his bid to qualify for November's Barclays ATP World Tour Finals by toppling top seed Tomas Berdych to claim the Thailand Open title in Bangkok on Sunday.
The third-seeded Raonic defeated Berdych 7-6(4), 6-3, prevailing in one hour and 17 minutes. The right-hander fired 18 aces to his opponent's four, saved the only break point he faced and won 95 per cent of first serve points.
"I think I struggled a lot more than him at the beginning, he was finding his rhythm better," said the World No. 11. "In the tie-break, it just came down to one return and playing pretty sold after that... I started being more aggressive."
He is now just 180 points behind tenth-placed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Emirates ATP Race to London. Both Raonic and Tsonga are competing in Tokyo next week.
"It would mean a lot, it was a goal," Raonic said, referring to his hopes of qualifying. "After [the] clay and grass [seasons], it seemed very distant... I've put a lot of good results together."
Raonic improved his FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Berdych to 2-0 and captured his second title of the season following a third straight win in San Jose (d. Haas). He improved his record in ATP World Tour finals to 5-4 and lifted his career record against Top 10 opponents to 12-20.
Raonic beat the top two seeds and Top 10 players in the semi-final and final rounds for the second time en route to a title, having done so in Chennai last year. He's the highest-ranked player aged under 23 years old in the Top 50, and believes he can continue to improve.
"I think I'm playing great tennis, I'm serving really well, I'm doing a lot of good things. If I keep that up I think I'll have opportunities and will put myself in a good position, no matter who [I play]," Raonic said.
The Czech's loss leaves him as the only player within the Top 10 not to have won a title this season.
"He was exceptional. He was serving really well and didn’t give me many chances," said Berdych. "Basically, the match was about two points. Both of them Milos handled better and so he deserved to win."