NEW YORK - Milos Raonic was in action on Saturday at Flushing Meadows, holding off Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic in straight sets. With the win - 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) -, Raonic is onto the fourth round at the US Open.
En route to the victory, Raonic fired 22 aces and 52 winners against his unheralded opponent. Despite his relative anonymity, Burgos gave the Canadian a run for his money in a match that was a lot closer than the straight-sets decision indicated.
"It was difficult. He's playing well. He's playing with a lot of aspiration," Raonic said his Burgos, who was making his debut at the US Open.
"It was a lot of fun, the atmosphere out there. I'm glad that I was able to play well in the important moments. I had a bit of an understanding what to expect. I played him about four years ago now, so I knew him a little bit."
But it wasn't just Burgos that Raonic had to deal with on Saturday. In addition, the Canadian had to contend with a partisan crowd of local Dominicans who came out to cheer their countryman on during this a very special week for the 34-year-old.
Waiting for Raonic in the fourth round is Japan's Kei Nishikori who the native of Thornhill, Ontario, defeated at the fourth round of Wimbledon in July. But the Japanese up-and-comer (ranked 10th) got the better end of the Canadian last spring in Madrid and last year at the Japan Open final in Tokyo. The 23-year-old Raonic will look to even the score at Flushing Meadows.
"It's good to get the win," said Raonic. "It's good to put myself in this position in the fourth round to go further in this tournament and give myself an opportunity to play better. I believe I can play better. I believe I will."
Raonic had to battle hard to overcome Burgos early in his match and can only work harder towards a stronger start against NIshikori in the next round. As for the other Canadians in New York, Eugenie Bouchard is hoping to join Raonic in round number four as she battles Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic on Saturday evening.