Raonic defends San Jose title

2012-02-20 13:01

San Jose - Third seeded Milos Raonic successfully defended his San Jose Open crown by routing Denis Istomin 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 for his third career title on Sunday.

The 21-year-old Canadian dominated unseeded Istomin with his serve, hammering seven aces and winning 90 percent of his first serve points in the 79 minute match.

"I feel amazing," Raonic said. "It is great to come back here. There was a little more pressure than last year but I am really happy with the tennis I played this week."

Raonic, who had a bye in the first round, didn't drop a set in the $531 000 indoor tournament, winning four-straight matches at the HP Pavilion arena which also serves as the home of the NHL San Jose Sharks.

The world No 32 is also a perfect eight-for-eight in tiebreakers at the event over two years.

"This is special to me because it is a hockey arena," said Raonic. "I am not the biggest hockey fan but it definitely makes me feel like I am at home."

Raonic, of Toronto, won the first set in a tiebreaker, closing it out with a 233km/h serve. He jumped out to a 6-1 lead, then dropped the next two points before serving for the set.

Raonic stepped up the attack in a lightning quick second set, going eight-for-eight in his first serve points and winning 89 percent of his second serve points.

The victory earned Raonic $95 000 in prize money and made him the ATP Tour's first two-time winner of 2012. Raonic opened this season with a win at the Chennai Open in New Delhi, India.

Raonic was presented with his trophy at centre court then joked about his good feelings for the area.

"If real estate wasn't so expensive here I might buy a home," he said.

This marked the first career meeting between Raonic and Istomin, who is ranked 61st in the world.

Istomin, who was chasing his first ATP Tour title, had a single ace and won just 62 percent of his first-serve points.

"I was feeling good today but not enough to win. He was serving unbelievable," said Istomin.

Raonic won last year in San Jose then followed it up the next week by reaching the final of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championship where he lost a close match to former US Open winner Andy Roddick.

But then, after losing to American teen Ryan Harrison at Indian Wells, a string of injuries stalled his progress. Later that year he underwent surgery to repair a damaged hip.

"It was the toughest time for me and I hope the hardest thing I will have to go through," he said.

One area where Raonic has to improve is in the majors. Since turning pro three years ago, he has never made it past the fourth round of a grand slam event.