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Big-hitting Raonic races through

Canadian Milos Raonic is on the rise.
by Benjamin Snyder
Wednesday 27 June 2012

Milos Raonic won his first round match against Santiago Giraldo on Day three after rain and darkness halted play at the end of the second day of The Championships 2012. The Canadian, seeded No. 21, came through 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 against the Colombian on Court 7.

Raonic struck 20 aces to his opponent’s five in a match lasting just over 90 minutes. “I’m mostly trying to play the offensive tennis,” he said of the victory.

He certainly did. In fact, the Canadian claimed a total of 93 per cent of his first serve points, or 50 out of 53 total. While breaking his opponent three times, he never lost his serve.

It was a clean result overall for the big-hitting Canadian. He unleashed more than twice the number of winners as his No. 45-ranked opponent (with 44 winners to Giraldo’s 19) and committed only eight errors in the three sets.

In the next round, the 6ft 5in Raonic will face a fellow giant in American Sam Querrey, who stands at 6ft 6in. Querrey defeated the other Canadian man in the gentlemen’s singles draw, Vasek Pospisil. Raonic and Querrey have never met in their ATP careers.

Raonic said the match-up against Querrey should be “a good one’’. “We play similar styles, but we both have quite different patterns of play,” he said. “For me, it’s just going to be doing my job on my serve. I’m going to have to be very focused and explosive on the first two balls, try to play on my terms.”

Querrey, who has been ranked as high as No. 17 before injury sidelined him the past, is currently ranked No. 64 in the world. He seems to have regained some form that earned him a Queen’s Club title in 2010. For example, this year the California-native advanced to the semi-finals on the grass of Queen’s Club again before losing to eventual champion Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

At Eastbourne, Querrey failed to win his first round match. His opponent there, however, was compatriot and this year’s winner, Andy Roddick, who has also found his form before coming into Wimbledon.

Should the big-serving Raonic defeat Querrey, the No. 21 seed could meet Cilic in the third round, followed by 2011 Wimbledon semi-finalist Andy Murray in the fourth round.

This year, Raonic has enjoyed success on tour by claiming two hard court titles at San Jose and Chennai. He also finished as the runner-up at Memphis.

Leading up to Wimbledon, the Canadian played in Halle, Germany. There, he lost to the 16-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-7(3).

The win over Giraldo was Raonic’s first at the All England Club since retiring against Gilles Muller of Luxembourg last year. The hip injury he sustained during that match kept him out for the next few months.

“I’ve been playing well, I’ve put that injury behind me,” Raonic added. “I’m a little more cautious when it starts to drizzle.”

In the ladies’ singles, the only Canadian joining Raonic in the second round is the No. 56 Aleksandra Wozniak, who beat Vera Dushevina in straight sets in the first round.

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