By Ros Satar, at the World Tour Finals, London
- Milos Raonic def. Gael Monfils 6-3 6-4
- No recurrence of the quad tear which forced Raonic’s withdrawal in Paris
LONDON, ENGLAND – Milos Raonic made up for perhaps a disappointing debut two years ago with an emphatic win over Gael Monfils, on the Frenchman’s debut.
Milos Raonic def. Gael Monfils 6-3 6-4
In what could well have been the battle of the walking wounded, Milos Raonic made a mark on his second time around at the World Tour Finals.
Against the flamboyant Gael Monfils, the Canadian came roaring out of the gate, jumping out to a 4-1 lead and never looked in any danger of losing that advantage – not bad for someone that could only start running again after a quad tear earlier this week.
While we could have expected Dominic Thiem to show signs of nerves (we’ll just gloss over those serving yips for the opening set), we might have expected Monfils to react a little stronger on the big stage.
Dropping balls short straight into the Raonic hitting zone was a big mistake for the Frenchman who finally settled a little too late to salvage the first set, but seemed a lot more dialled in at the start of the second set.
Showing very little sign of the muscle tear that caused the big-serving Canadian to withdraw from his semi-final in Paris, he just needed the one break in the second set to get his campaign going.
Monfils admitted that he could have done with more time to prepare, telling reporters: “Definitely maybe have one more week of practice. I came here with not even a week of practice. I came here with three, four days for real practice. Even when you’re 100%, it’s tough to beat those guys. He’s 4 in the world. With three, four days’ practice, it’s really tough. I was really happy to lost with just a break in each set.”
Raonic, who had looked a very shaky prospect having travelled home to Canada for just 12 hours before boarding a plane back to London was very happy with his performance, given his debut two years ago.
“I gave myself a lot of opportunities. I played well. I took care of my serve very efficiently. All those things came together nicely. I competed well, had a good attitude, hit the ball pretty well as well.
“Maybe I hesitated a little bit a few times, especially on the longer runs. I don’t think about it too much. That’s something very fortunate. I hope that I can get rid of those hesitations as the days go on.”
Monfils will play Dominic Thiem, and Raonic will face Novak Djokovic on Tuesday.
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