It’s official, Milos Raonic is a new star in men’s tennis. Today, the big-serving Canuck beat Fernando Verdasco 7-6(8), 7-6(5) to capture the SAP Open in San Jose.
Raonic just burst onto the global tennis scene last month reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open where he lost to another Spaniard, David Ferrer (Raonic lost to Rafael Nadal in the fall, also). But Raonic, who received a wildcard to play the event, got revenge on Spain today – though he’s coached by a Spaniard, Galo Blanco.
“It’s been a quick month-and-a half but it’s been an amazing month-and-half and I look to keep this going on as much as I can,” a very composed Roanic said on the winner’s stand. “This is what I’ve always dreamed of and it’s fun. It’s all been amazing things that have been happening to me and all the work I’ve put in.”
Verdasco, who won the title last year beating Andy Roddick, led the youngster 6-2 in the first set tiebreak before gagging losing six straight points to drop the opener.
In the second set Roanic hung tough and wouldn’t give in to Verdasco who grew increasingly irritated with the his inability to penetrate Raonic’s service games. And down match point a fan yelled out just as Verdasco netted a return. Verdasco pleaded but there would be no replay, match over.
Afterward, the top seed had an concise explanation for the loss.
“His serve. Easy,” said Verdasco who actually won five more points in the match but lost. “He deserves the victory here.”
Raonic finished with 13 aces and lost just seven points on his first serve. To his credit, Verdasco played well – he lost just 11 points total on serve – but when things got tight (tiebreakers) he once again faltered.
There were no breaks in the match with Verdasco having squandered the lone break opportunity. And Raonic isn’t just a serve. He can really belt his forehand and his backhand, and he has good feel at the net.
In an early comparison to Roddick, Andy had the bigger serve and forehand, but Roanic is much stronger from the ground overall and far better at the net. So we’ll see just how high this kid can get. No doubt the hype machine will be in overdrive the next 45 days or so with a new North American star!
In addition to 250 ATP points he earns, which will bump his ranking just inside the Top 60, and the $92,000 in prize money, Raonic also received a bottle of Maple syrup. And perhaps fittingly, the first Canadian to win since Greg Rusedski in 1995 (Seoul) did it in of all places a hockey Arena.
On Wednesday night Raonic will again meet Verdasco in the first round in Memphis.
If you didn’t believe the kid’s a future Top 10 before, what say you now?
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