Australian Open

Raonic motivated by Aussie Open heartbreak

2017-01-17 13:00
Milos Raonic (Getty Images)

Melbourne - Milos Raonic said his tough defeat in last year's Australian Open semi-finals had given him extra motivation to come back and lift the trophy after he cruised into round two on Tuesday.

Injury-hobbled Raonic crashed out in five sets against Andy Murray in 2016. The Canadian, now ranked at world No 3, opened his 2017 campaign with a straight-sets win over Dustin Brown.

Raonic spent just 93 minutes dishing out a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 lesson to the dreadlocked Brown. Afterwards, he said the pain of last year was a driving factor as he bids for his first Grand Slam title.

"It's a perspective," Raonic said. "Emotionally, as much and as painful as it was, you sort of understand that there is that other side of the spectrum where you can have that kind of joy if you can go through on those moments.

"So it's something I'm definitely itching to experience... this is a tournament I have performed consistently my best at throughout my career.

"So I always do feel good coming here, and I want to see what I can do to try to have that experience."

Raonic, who next plays in-form Sydney International winner Gilles Muller, didn't offer Brown many chances on his booming serve with just three break point opportunities which all went unconverted.

He cranked up his fastest serve of 235 kph (146 mph) on a second serve. "I was up 40-15. I had some space to go for it a little bit," he recalled.

He sent down 18 aces among his 46 winners and won an impressive 82 percent of his first serves in a dominant performance.

"I took care of my serve. I broke quite early in all the sets," he said.

"Just dropped off a little bit where I faced a few sort of dangers on my service games in the beginning of the third set, end of the second.

"But other than that, I returned pretty solid when I had to. I stepped up and I played well."

Raonic is wary of facing Muller in the next round after the Luxembourg leftie's emotional first ATP career title success in last week's Sydney International.

"Yeah, I have struggled with him. We have played twice. He beat me twice," Raonic said.

"He had a great, phenomenal week last week. For him it was something very special and it was pretty special to see as well that final and his reaction to it.

"But I've got to take care of my own end of the court, serve well and try to create some opportunities on his. It's going to be a bit more predictable match than today."

The 26-year-old became the first Canadian man to reach a Grand Slam final when he went down to world No 1 Andy Murray at Wimbledon last year.

He was also his country's first male to reach the semi-finals of last year's Australian Open where he again lost to the Scot.

Read more on:    atp tour  |  australian open  |  milos raonic  |  tennis
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