Raonic powers past Mahut
Originally published on 03/08/17 00:00
The Canadian, playing his first match since losing to Roger Federer at the quarter-final stage of Wimbledon, struggled to find his range at times but his booming serve ensured he maintained his position in the competition.
Break-point opportunities were sparse in the opener but it was Raonic who took it in a one-sided tiebreak. The 2014 champion, still searching for his title win of the season, appeared to be closing in on victory when he moved a break ahead early in the second set however his slack play gave Mahut a lifeline.
Three consecutive double-faults from the Canadian enabled his opponent to pull level at four games apiece. Raonic was not overly perturbed by his unusual lapse in concentration, though, and he converted his fourth match-point to seal victory in a prolonged second set shootout.
It was an unremarkable match however it will be remembered for a 151mph ace from the imposing Canadian. It’s the 12th fastest serve in history and the quickest delivery ever seen at the Citi Open.
“This event is a big opportunity for me to turn things around,” said Raonic. "This year I haven’t been happy with my play but also health-wise it’s been tough for me. Leading into the summer and the rest of the big events, this is an opportunity to get things going in the right direction and hopefully start competing better.”
Elsewhere at the Citi Open, Jared Donaldson defeated Marc Polmans 6-2 6-3, Gilles Muller conceded just three games as he dismissed Dmitry Tursunov and Tommy Paul upset No.6 seed, Lucas Pouille, 7-6(6) 6-3.