TORONTO - While 2014 has been kind to him thus far, Canadian Milos Raonic entered this year's Rogers Cup with a mission. While there is always extra incentive to win in one's hometown, the 23-year-old is vying to do one better than his 2013 finish in Montreal last year. Then, Raonic made a run to the Rogers Cup Final where he bowed out to Rafael Nadal. This time around, the Canadian wants to make that extra step.
Wearing his traditional - and patriotic - red attire, Milos Raonic opened his tournament by defeating American Jack Sock 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) in a somewhat-anxious come-from-behind victory. This victory, albeit still early in the tournament, could not come a moment too soon as Raonic's win marks a great sense for redemption for Canada as the three other Canadian men in singles competition were eliminated on Tuesday, in addition to Eugenie Bouchard's shocking exit in Montreal.
Coming off winning the CitiOpen in Washington last week, Raonic came back home with a great deal of momentum - and while he wasn't perfect on Wednesday, his efforts proved to be enough to knock off Sock (honestly, that wasn't mean to sound cute). Nevertheless, Raonic's presence alone was enough to leave Rexall Centre buzzing as fans chanted "Let's go Milos" between points.
While he did fall behind in the opening set, Raonic did end up winning 79 per cent of his first-serve points. That and the home-court advantage were both integral reasons for the Canadian's win.
In the second set, the 6th-seeded Raonic held serve before dominating Sock in the tiebreak, eventually beating the American again in another tiebreak in the third set to take the match.
With the win, the Canadian is right back to work on Thursday where he will face France's Julien Benneteau who is already making quite a run in Toronto this week. Having already ousted former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the opening round, Benneteau upset No. 11 Ernests Gulbis on Wednesday. Both Raonic and Benneteau enter Thursday's matchup with little rest so something will have to give.
The other Canadian still in action at the Rogers Cup is veteran Daniel Nestor who is taking part in the doubles draw. Nestor and his partner Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia defeated Novak Djokovic (who won earlier on Wednesday over Gael Monfils) and Poland's Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-4.
Thursday should mark another promising day in Toronto.