ATP Rome: Nick Kyrgios outserves Milos Raonic in straight sets

Nick Kyrgios claimed another top ten win in 2016 as he defeated Canada’s Milos Raonic in the second round of the Italian Open, ending the Canadian’s streak of reaching the quarterfinal of every event he has played this year. Kyrgios’ serve was just a bit stronger and he held on in the key moments, winning 7-6(5), 6-3 to reach the third round.

Krygios takes opener in tiebreak

After the pair traded holds to start the match, it was Kyrgios who first tasted blood, bringing up double break point in the third game. He missed the first but ripped a beautiful forehand passing shot down the line for the early break. However, Raonic brought some brilliant returning to the table in the following game, going ahead 0-40 and converting the third when Kyrgios missed a forehand to put the set back on serve.

Immediately after the break, the rain became too heavy to continue and the match was delayed for almost 50 minutes. When the pair returned to the court, it was business as usual for the two big servers. In the eighth game, Kyrgios blew a big lead on his serve and was forced to battle through a deuce to hold. In the following game, he had a golden opportunity to take a stranglehold in the set with a triple break point opportunity. But back to back errors followed by three great serves by Raonic saw the Canadian hold.

Raonic stretches for a backhand. Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
Raonic stretches for a backhand. Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

The set went to a tiebreak, where the strong service trend continued. The first eight points went with serve before a Kyrgios miss-hit return died short for a winner to give him a 5-4 lead and an opportunity to serve for the set. However, he drove a backhand wide on the next point to give the minibreak right back. Still, he brought up a set point and on his own serve, Raonic pushed a forehand wide to give the Aussie the opening set.

Kyrgios takes advantage of erratic play from Raonic to advance

It would not take long for Raonic to try to retake the initiative, as he forced Kyrgios to deuce on the Aussie’s serve in the opening game of the set and brought up a break point, but the Aussie saved it with a forehand winner before holding. A few games later, a pair of double faults from Raonic gave Kyrgios double break point. The Canadian finally found a serve, but his groundstrokes did not follow suit and the Aussie broke with some huge groundstrokes.

The wheels seemed to be coming off for Raonic when, after Kyrgios held to love, he fell behind 0-40 in his next service game. He got his act together and saved the first three, but Kyrgios brought up another at 40-AD and this time a net cord drew an error from Raonic and the Aussie found himself serving for the match at 5-1. But Raonic upped his game at the right moment, racing ahead 15-40 and drawing an error on the second to reclaim the first break.

Kyrgios celebrates winning a key point during his second round win. Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
Kyrgios celebrates winning a key point during his second round win. Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

After a routine hold by the Canadian, Kyrgios would serve for the match again. This time, he raced ahead 40-0 and had three chances to close out the match. However, he struck errors on the first two. But the Aussie was not to be denied, as he blasted an ace to close out the match.

By the numbers

Kyrgios did everything slightly better than Raonic in this match. He hit six aces to the Canadians two, won 77 percent of his first serve points to Raonic’s 75, and 55 percent of second serves to his opponents abysmal 39. He led in winners 25 to 22 and had fewer errors with 11 to Raonic’s 19.

Kyrigos now awaits a potential showdown with Rafael Nadal in the third round, assuming the Spaniard defeats Philipp Kohlschreiber in the second round.