NEW YORK - 2014 has easily been one of the most - if not the most - successful year for Canadian tennis, and Milos Raonic has had quite a lot to do with that. But entering the final Grand Slam of the year, the Canadian contingent were hoping to finish off 2014 in style. On Monday at the US Open, Raonic got off to the start he was looking for, defeating Japan's Taro Daniel in straight sets 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (1).
Raonic, who has just come off a semi-final run at last week's Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, arrived to the Big Apple with a mission and for the first two sets, he was rolling. But the third set proved a bit more challenging as Taro Daniel took the Canuck to the brink. Still, the native of Thornhill, Ontario, persevered, advancing to the next round as expected, needing just over 90 minutes to win.
En route to the victory, Raonic made 20 aces and nearly 60 winners to defeat Daniel.
"I've been playing my best tennis this year," Raonic said following his win. "I put a lot of focus into this event. I'm glad to be here and start playing.
"I'm hoping to stay for as long as possible."
Unfortunately for the Canadian contingent, Raonic's win was the lone bright spot on Monday.
Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil, who injured his shoulder during a practice last week, lost to Simone Bolelli 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. While Pospisil did fire 13 aces, he did fall victim to 51 unforced errors which did him in on this day.
Having won the doubles title at Wimbledon, there is a glimmer of hope that Pospisil can repeat that success in New York. With his ailing shoulder, however, that may be more of a challenge. We'll see.
On the women's side, both Sharon Fichman of Toronto and Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, Quebec each lost, putting early ends to their tournament.
Fichman, who had returned from arthroscopic knee surgery, lost to Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska in a match that took 47 minutes while Wozniak fell victim to Japan's up-and-coming urumi Nar 6-, 6-1 in just under an hour.
Despite Milos Raonic's victory, it was a disappointing Monday for the Canucks in New York. On Tuesday, however, Eugenie Bouchard kicks off her tournament against Belarus's Olga Govortsova. We'll see what happens.