TOKYO: Canada’s Milos Raonic looked sharp on his return from wrist surgery Tuesday as he battered Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the Japan Open.
The third seed, who was forced to sit out the US Open due to a persistent problem with his left wrist, displayed very few signs of rust after a seven-week absence, taking just 71 minutes to blast his way into the last 16.
A right-hander with a double-fisted backhand, Raonic tore through the opening set in bright Tokyo sunshine and secured the key break early in the second with a cleverly disguised drop shot.
Troicki fought gamely but when a Raonic volley clipped the net and trickled over, the Serb slammed his racquet to the ground in disgust and bellowed furiously at courtside spectators.Raonic, a former world number three, rifled 16 aces to pile the misery on Troicki, completing victory with a kicking serve that his opponent could only waft into the net.
The former Wimbledon finalist next faces Japan’s Yuichi Sugita, who progressed after 2015 Tokyo runner-up Benoit Paire of France threw in the towel upon losing the first set 6-4, citing fatigue.
Elsewhere, Frenchman Richard Gasquet, another former Japan Open finalist, upset American sixth seed Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-6 after clinically winning the second-set breaker 7-2.In other matches, eighth seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina beat American Donald Young 6-2, 7-5 while Australia’s Matthew Ebden ousted big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 6-3.