Canada will have to wait a little longer for a Grand Slam singles champion after Milos Raonic, their big hope for the future was beaten 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(4) in the second round by the Dutchman Igor Sijsling. Raonic, who hasn’t advanced past the second round at the All England Club in three attempts, was outplayed by his opponent’s serve and volleying.
Sijsling said: “I thought I would have to play very well to beat Milos. But actually, from the first moment I was feeling very confident on court. I was feeling the ball very well.”
That confidence showed throughout. In the first set, the four-time ATP titlist Raonic failed to handle his opponent and was edged out 7-5 in 26 minutes. During the set, the typically big-serving Raonic struck just three aces to Sijsling’s six and hit three doubles faults to his opponent’s one. Meanwhile, the Canadian, who must now wait longer to go past the fourth round at any major, committed five times as many unforced errors, 10, to his opponent’s two.
The second set, however, proved to be more competitive, showcasing the No. 17 Raonic’s big-serving style. The Canadian struck 10 aces to Sijsling’s four, while hitting 20 winners but it was the Dutchman who earned a two-sets lead.
For Raonic and Sijsling, who started the year by advancing to the men’s doubles final at the Australian Open with partner Robin Haase, the third set started smoothly with both players dominating on serve. Sijsling, 25, didn’t drop a point in his opening service game. Raonic, too, didn’t have too much trouble on serve early in the third set, racing to a two games lead.
At 3-3, the match was suspended due to rain before Raonic picked up his racket once more. It went to 4-4 and then at 5-5 and at 40-0, Raonic struck ace No.21 for the 6-5 lead. Unfazed, Sijsling successfully earned a tie-break with his own game held to love.
In the breaker, Sijlsing raced to a 3-0 lead with more serve and volleying. A forehand winner helped Raonic onto the scoreboard, while an ace made it 2-3. The Dutchman replied with an ace and an unreturned serve for five points and only two away from victory.
Raonic saved two match points but on the third Sijsling’s volley proved crucial and he secured the upset over the No. 17 seed and also the biggest win of his career. Sijsling will next play Croatia’s Ivan Dodig for a spot in the fourth round.
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