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Milos Raonic plays a backhand against Dusan Lajovic on Sept. 17, 2020, in Rome.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Canada’s Milos Raonic beat American qualifier J.J. Wolf 7-6 (5), 6-1 in first-round play at the St. Petersburg Open on Tuesday.

The sixth-seeded Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., skipped the recently concluded French Open, which is played on clay – traditionally the weakest surface for the Canadian.

The St. Petersburg Open, an ATP Tour 500 event, is played on hard courts.

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The hard-serving Raonic had 21 aces, while his 123rd-ranked opponent had none. Raonic saved all five break points he faced.

Raonic, ranked 21st in the world, will face world No. 52 Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan in the second round.

Meanwhile, Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil lost 6-2, 6-4 to No. 3 seed Andrey Rublev of Russia in a first-round match later Tuesday.

Second-seeded Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., will meet Viktor Troicki of Serbia in a first-round match on Wednesday.

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