Milos Raonic did not miss a beat in his first match since the Australian Open, cruising past Spaniard Inigo Cervantes 6-1, 6-3 in his opening match of the Indian Wells Masters. The Canadian had not played since the Australian Open due to a leg injury, but was dominant in his opening round match, cruising to victory in only 55 minutes.
Raonic Comes Out Firing
Despite having not played a competitive match in almost six weeks, Raonic showed no signs of rust to start the match. The Australian Open semifinalist held to love in his opening game, hitting four first serves and three aces, before breaking to 15 in the following game for the early lead. Raonic would win 12 of the first 13 points of the match for an early 3-0 lead.
Cervantes finally got on the board in the following game, but Raonic would break for a second time two games later, converting the break point with a perfect backhand winner down the line. Cervantes was helpless to stop the Canadian as he served for the set, as Raonic cruised through the final game with four easy points to wrap up the opening set in only 22 minutes. The big-serving Canadian only lost one point on serve in the opening set.
Strong Return Propels Raonic
Just when it seemed like Cervantes would get off to a better start in the opening game of the second set, holding a game point after a poor miss from Raonic at 30-30, the Spaniard would proceed to give the game away with poor serving and errors, as Raonic broke to start the second set. With the way the Canadian was serving, it seemed like the match was already over. The 12th seed easily consolidated the break in the following game.
Cervantes was under pressure again in the fifth game. He found himself serving down 1-3, 15-40, with a break essentially signing his death certificate. At long last, the Spaniard stood up to Raonic, saving both to force a deuce. However, the fight back seemed to cost Cervantes, as he threw in a pair of errors to gift Raonic a second break of the set anyway.
Serving for the match, some cracks finally appeared in Raonic’s serve. After being nearly perfect on serve all match, literally perfect on his second serve, the Canadian found himself behind 0-40. After saving the first break point, he dumped a volley into the net to give Cervantes the break. But the Spaniard was only delaying the inevitable, as he went down double match point on his own serve in the following game, gifting Raonic the win by missing a backhand on the second match point.
By the Numbers
With the exception of his last service game, it was a classic Raonic serving performance. He struck six aces and only lost nine points on serve, only two of which were on his second serve. The break points he faced in his final game were the only ones he allowed in the match. Cervantes was nowhere near as strong, being broken five times out of nine opportunities. His second serve was a disaster, only winning four of 21 points.
Raonic, who reached the semifinals in Indian Wells last year, awaits the winner of the match between Rajeev Ram and Bernard Tomic in the third round.