TORONTO: Milos Raonic posted a second Canadian victory on Monday, joining Peter Polansky in the second round of the Rogers Cup after a 6-3, 6-4 defeat of David Goffin.
Vasek Pospisil missed out on a local hat-trick in a night match as the Canadian lost to Croatian Borna Coric 6-4, 6-3 after a three-hour afternoon rain interruption.
Former Wimbledon finalist Raonic, ranked 29th due to an injury plagued 2017, won in his first match since going out in the Wimbledon quarter-finals to John Isner a month ago.
World No.121 Polansky reached the second round for a third straight year, upsetting Australian world No.52 Matt Ebden 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.
As in 2017, when he ran into Roger Federer after winning his home opener, Polansky could again face a Grand Slam champion, with Novak Djokovic lying in wait should the Serb overcome Chung Hyeon.
Raonic sent over his 15th ace as well as a double-fault as he served for the win against 10th seed Goffin, who had no answer to the Canadian’s big game.
The Belgian sent a return long to hand Raonic a match point, with the Canadian finishing it all off on his first chance as Goffin sent a forehand into the net after an hour and a quarter. The Canadian had to fight to secure the second set, having saved three break points as he served for the opener.
In other matches after the bad weather passed, 11th seed Diego Schwartzman crushed Kyle Edmund, the lone Brit in the field after the withdrawal of Andy Murray, 6-1, 6-2.
Jack Sock, who has not won a match since before Roland Garros more than two months ago, lost in the first round for a fourth straight event, going down 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to Daniil Medvedev.
Benoit Paire reined in his fearsome temper to earn a straightforward first-round win after a costly outburst on court last week.
The volatile 55th-ranked Frenchman advanced over American Jared Donaldson 6-3, 6-4 to set up a showdown with top seed Rafael Nadal.
Paire exploded in anger last week during a first-round Washington loss to Marcos Baghdatis, destroying three racquets and earning a massive fine of $16,500.
Nadal leads the draw with holder Alexander Zverev, the weekend champion in Washington, the second seed.
Federer is skipping the event during the week of his 37th birthday and will return next week in Cincinnati at his only scheduled tune-up event prior to the US Open.
Belarusian qualifier Ilya Ivashka extended his run of weekend success as he beat Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 6-2, 6-3. Pablo Carreno Busta advanced when Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka retired after the first set.
Meanwhile, Venus Williams avoided an upset at the hands of fellow American Caroline Dolehide, holding off the 19-year-old 7-5, 6-1 to claim her first round match in the women’s event in Montreal.
Williams, coming off a disappointing quarter-final loss at San Jose last week, fell down a break early but recovered to turn back her dangerous opponent.
Dolehide displayed her full potential in March when she nearly took down world No.1 Simona Halep at Indian Wells. Against Williams, the young player lost momentum late as Williams claimed 12 of the final 14 games of the match.
The only two other seeds in action during the opening day were ninth seed Karolina Pliskova and 10th seed Julia Goerges who both won.
Pliskova beat Katerina Siniakova 6-4, 6-4 while Goerges overcame Timea Babos 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.
Rain moved into the area just before 7:00pm, interrupting two matches, including one in the first set between Russia’s Maria Sharapova and Bulgaria’s Sesil Karatantcheva.
With Sharapova leading 4-1 after 24 minutes of play, the match was delayed due to heavy rain and lightning.
Both players returned to the court three times to resume the match over the course of the three-hour delay, only for the rain to keep returning, forcing them back off the court.
Julia Goerges of Germany avoided an early loss with a 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 win over Timea Babos of Hungary in a match that lasted nearly 2½ hours. Goerges had 17 aces and five double faults to Babos’ eight and one, respectively. Goerges will next face qualifier Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic in the second round.
Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic beat Katerina Siniakova 6-4, 6-4; Anett Kontaveit of Estonia defeated Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 4-6, 6-3, 6-1; and Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia cruised past Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia 6-1, 6-0.
Among those yet to play are top-ranked Halep and No.2 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark. The top eight seeds all received first-round byes.
Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2018