NEW YORK - After Frank Dancevic lost on Wednesday, the Canadian contingent at the US Open got a little thinner. But that certainly didn't faze Milos Raonic as he outlasted Peter Gojowczyk 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (3) on Thursday to advance to the next round in Flushing Meadows.
In June 2013, Raonic had lost to Gojowczyk on grass in Halle, Germany. This time around, the Canadian was looking for revenge - and while he had to work for it, he got just that.
Seeded No. 6 entering the final Grand Slam of the year, Milos Raonic fired 26 aces en route to his victory over the up-and-coming German and will now face 34-year-old Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic in the third round. This is, by the way, Burgos's tournament debut. He started off on the right foot, defeating 17-year-old Croatian Borna Coric 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the opening round.
"It's about finding a way and getting through. That's what I was able to do," said Raonic. "I have one day now to get better and I know I'll play better my next match."
But as great as the native of Thornhill, Ontario, should feel, even he admits that improvements are needed in his own game.
"I wasn't focusing on the right things. I got a little bit caught up," he said. "I didn't focus on my stuff. I was getting a little too caught up in him rather than focusing on myself."
The Big Apple has been kind to Raonic thus far. After missing the 2011 installment of the US Open due to a hip injury, Raonic is playing in New York for the fourth time in five years where he has amassed a record of 8-3.
With heavy wind, weather conditions were certainly difficult for both players but Raonic did insist that the conditions "didn't really matter."
"You just have to deal with things as they come and find a way to win," he said. "It could have been perfectly calm today and been a different story."
Nothing was handed to the Canadian on this day. Raonic had to work every inch to get the victory. But after the three hours, 46 winners and 47 unforced errors, Raonic came away with the win. Let's hope for the same success in round number three.