Raonic Rolls Past Istomin to Win Second SAP Open

by John on February 20, 2012

Defending champion and No. 3-seeded Milos Raonic put on an exhibition of lights-out serving to defeat Denis Istomin 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the final of the SAP Open in San Jose, Calif., yesterday. The No. 32-ranked Canadian became the first double winner on the ATP Tour this year, while winning his third career title. Raonic was victorious at Chennai the first week in January. The 6-foot- 5 Raonic won an incredible 44 of 48 points on his serve and had seven aces. Istomin, unseeded and ranked No. 61 in the world, had knocked off second-seeded Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals and had a 9-3 record on the year coming into the final. The 25-year-old Uzbekistani had no answer, though, for Raonic’s missile-like serves. “I won just four points on his serve, which makes it very difficult to win the match,” Istomin said. “I knew he was a great server and a good player. It’s very difficult to return.” Both players held serve throughout the first set to force a tiebreaker. Raonic took a 3-1 lead in the breaker on his second mini-break and closed it out on a 145 mph bomb on set point. Dominent serving continued until the fourth game of the second set. Raonic broke to go up 3-1, with Istomin succumbing on the first break point of the match. Raonic broke again in the eighth game to seal the victory in one hour and 19 minutes. “I think I served pretty flawlessly throughout the week,” Raonic said. Indeed he did. The 21-year-old Canadian led the tournament with 61 aces and was only broken once in 42 service games. Raonic rose to No. 25 in the world last year before an injury stalled his rapid rise. A slip on the Wimbledon grass led to hip surgery and lengthy down time. “This really just for myself, I think, puts a lot of the injury thing behind me but also for a lot of other people,” Raonic said. “I’m back and playing better tennis than ever before.” Raonic moves on to Memphis this week where last year he lost to Roddick in a gripping final.


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