Milos Raonic kept his long-shot hopes of a place in next week’s World Tour Finals alive, beating Robin Haase 6-3, 6-4 Wednesday in a second-round match at the Paris Masters.
Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., has a long way to go if he is to somehow reach the year-end event starting in Monday London, which is limited to the best eight on the ATP Tour.
Raonic stands a provisional 11th in the points race and must reach the final at the Bercy arena on Sunday if he is to have a chance to book a ticket to London.
He would be the first Canadian to reach the finals in singles play, though Toronto’s Daniel Nestor has made multiple appearances in the doubles event of the season wrapup tournaments.
Raonic finished with 14 aces against Haase and never faced a break point in just under an hour on court.
“I felt like I played well,” Raonic said. “I executed well and gave myself opportunities on the return side. I was solid with my service games.
“But it’s a long way to go for London, there is a lot more tennis to play. The most important thing is to come tomorrow and give my best effort.”
Canadian doubles veteran Nestor ended his season with a loss alongside Leander Paes, as the seventh seeds went out in the first round to Mexico’s Santiago Gonzalez and American Scott Lipsky 6-4, 6-3 in 50 minutes.
Raonic, playing his first match since losing a Stockholm quarter-final this month, swept through the opening set in 27 minutes.
The second set began with a break for Raonic, facing the Dutchman for the first time after Haase split two matches in as many weeks against Canada’s Vasek Pospisil. That proved to be enough to ensure victory as Raonic advanced on the first of three match points.
Raonic won his 45th match of the season and next face sixth seed Tomas Berdych, who is already in the year-end field. Raonic has won both of his matches against the Czech, most recently last September to take the Bangkok title.
“I have to play well in that match,” Raonic said. “I’ve played well both times I’ve faced him, That’s a big necessity for me. I have to play well and create opportunities. I can’t change much, just play my way and dictate all I can.”