It took two days, but 21-year-old Canadian Milos Raonic is through to the second round at Wimbledon.
Raonic advanced with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win over Colombian Santiago Giraldo on Wednesday.
Raonic led 2-0 and was about to serve for the match Tuesday night before rain and darkness forced officials to stop play. Raonic only needed 80 seconds to close out play Wednesday, setting up a second-round meeting with American Sam Querrey on Thursday.
The Thornhill, Ont., native said he treated Wednesday’s short stint as a “practice session.”
“I warmed up a bit long this morning,” said Raonic. “Normally I start matches serving well, so I was not too nervous.”
The No. 21-seeded Raonic fired 20 aces, converted 93 per cent of his serves and had three service breaks while holding his serve throughout. Raonic had 44 winners and made just eight unforced errors.
Raonic was playing at the All-England Club for the first time since slipping and hurting his hip in a second-round match against Gilles Muller at last year’s tournament. He was forced to retire from that match and remained sidelined until October after requiring surgery.
Raonic said he’s been more cautious on turf ever since.
“If I start slipping on the grass now, I stop going for my shots quite as much,” he said. “That’s the difference between now and last year.
“I had a match point Tuesday and if it had not been wet I could have pushed for it and gotten to the ball a bit earlier.”
With the win, the six-foot-five Raonic faces the six-foot-six Querrey in a battle of big men. But Raonic said the two players don’t use the same strategy.
“Querrey hits big but we play different games with different patterns,” said Raonic, who hasn’t competed against Querrey but has rallied with him in the past.
Querrey defeated Canadian Vasek Pospisil 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday night. But Raonic said he’s confident ahead of the showdown.
“I can hit all the sports, serve in different patterns,” he said. “I’m returning well, that will be the key in this match.”
Raonic and Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, Que., are the only Canadians left at Wimbledon. Wozniak opened with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Russian Vera Dushevina.
Wozniak plays her second-round match Thursday against China’s Zheng Jie, who she beat at the French Open last month.
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