Raonic hits 21 aces to proceed to Round of 16 at St Petersburg

DAY 2 at St Petersburg saw two of the Russian favourites enter the draw, with third and fourth seeds Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov coming away with straight sets wins, as did fellow seeds Milos Raonic and Borna Coric. None of the day’s six matches went past two sets, with all the seeded matches completed as expected, as well as a qualifier making it through to the Round of 16.

Raonic was dealt a tough first set from American qualifier J.J. Wolf, taken to a first set tiebreaker before breezing through the second for a 7-6 6-1 outcome in an hour and 40 minutes. It was ultimately Raonic’s whopping 21 aces that were the gamechanger in this one, far more efficient and consistent off his serve with a 78 per cent winning rate off the first serve and 74 per cent off the second. With no double faults to his name, Raonic utilised one of his best assets to overcome Wolf and proved far too strong for the American 21-year-old.

Rublev had no issue disposing of Canadian Vasek Pospisil in 78 minutes, winning a whopping 87 per cent of his first serve points on his way to the 6-2 6-4 victory. Khachanov was similarly consistent against Australian James Duckworth, collecting a 6-4 6-4 win and was far more effective off his first serve and efficient off the return than Duckworth was which aided him in victory. Both Russians were consistent as ever, leaving little room for movement from their respective opposition. 

Coric, like Raonic, had a tough set in the mix but it was the second against Feliciano Lopez, but again it was clinical serving efficiency that proved game changing in the 6-3 7-6 battle, completed in 96 minutes. While the two players were even for aces, Lopez made four double faults compared to Coric’s one, and could not compete off the second serve with 48 per cent efficiency to Coric’s 86 per cent.

In the last two matches of the day, qualifier Ilya Ivashka collected the only upset of the day, defeating Adrian Mannarino in just over two hours and registering the 6-3 7-6 scoreline in a huge victory. The 141st ranked Belarusian was excellent overcoming Mannarino – ranked 39th in the world – and will gain plenty of confidence out of this victory. Meanwhile, Miomir Kecmanovic defeated Mikhail Kukushkin in another tough two-setter, coming away with the 6-3 7-6 win in 96 minutes.

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