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Vasek Pospisil returns to Yen-Hsun Lu at the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Tuesday.

Paul Chiasson/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Managing risk and reward isn't always a straightforward proposition.

Take the following situation: Up 40-love and early in the second set, do you try a tricky angled drop volley to close out the game against a crowd favourite? You do if you're Taiwanese pro Yen-Hsun Lu, in tough against Canada's Vasek Pospisil in the first round of the rain-delayed Rogers Cup.

The decision blew up in his face.

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It needn't have – one missed opportunity doesn't always lead to disaster. But Pospisil showed it can.

Having already dropped the first set 6-4 – Lu was broken at love in the deciding game – the 31-year-old swiftly found himself at deuce in the second service game of the second frame.

It took Pospisil four break points to win the game, but win it he did when Lu double-faulted – his costliest error in a match full of them. Pospisil, a 25-year-old British Columbian, had some wobbly moments of his own, but he prevailed with relative ease, 6-4, 6-3.

After it was over, he basked in the highly partisan applause.

"[The crowd] gives me a lot of energy, and I can draw upon that energy when I need it in the game. I like to play on big courts when the crowd is behind me. It's true for Vancouver, but here it's even more special, for sure, with all the memories I have and the energy I feel from the crowd," he said.

Pospisil said he had "a couple of flashbacks" to the 2013 Rogers Cup in Montreal, site of several of the 25-year-old's notable career triumphs.

There are indeed similarities between this year's tournament and the event two years ago where Pospisil reached the semi-final of his home country's open (losing to countryman Milos Raonic).

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As in 2013, he will now have to get through 6-foot-10 American serving machine John Isner, who needed three sets to beat Germany's Benjamin Becker. To take the comparisons to the eerie level, the 14th-seeded Isner is coming off a final appearance in the week leading up to the Rogers Cup – which he also did in 2013.

The two men have split the four matches they've played on the ATP Tour – the Canadian won a tough three-setter in the first round two years ago – and Pospisil said each knows what to expect.

Canadian tennis fans will be buoyed by the knowledge the injured wrist that's been bothering Pospisil looked just fine. Afterward, he admitted he's also been suffering from a shoulder problem – "I had some issues with that, actually, in Washington and the couple days leading into today. I was pretty nervous about that," he said.

It didn't show. He cranked out seven aces – topping out at a meaty 220 kilometres an hour – although he only connected on 62 per cent of his first serves. He was broken just once.

Pospisil also hit a raft of huge forehands, and scurried around the court against Lu – who pushed him to three sets at a tournament two weeks ago in Atlanta.

Not bad for a guy who was so convinced the morning's torrential rain would scrub his noon-hour match that he went to an indoor club on Nun's Island, west of downtown Montreal, to hit a few balls.

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He was as surprised as anyone when the clouds lifted and play began a couple of hours later than scheduled.

He also showed that calculated risks can pay off, hitting a looping topspin forehand that caught the line to win a second-set service game where he was under heavy pressure. Pospisil even hit a between-the-legs forehand late in the match.

It caught the net. The crowd on grandstand court loved it anyway.

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