Top seed Milos Raonic kicked off his campaign at the Delray Beach Open with a dominant win over local Tim Smyczek in the first round on Tuesday. Raonic was contesting his first match since hobbling off the court at the Australian Open with a leg injury that forced him to miss the Davis Cup, but the Canadian showed no signs of injury or rust, racing to an early lead and never looking back, advancing to the second round with a 6-1, 6-4 win.
Quick start for top seed
Raonic could not have gotten off to a much better start, as he opened the match with a hold to love and quickly brought up a break point in his opponent’s opening service game. The Canadian would convert for an early 2-0 lead. Smyczek seemed as though he would not let the top seed run away with the set when he pushed Raonic to deuce in the next game, but the American could not take advantage and Raonic held for a 3-0 lead.
Things would go from bad to worse for Smyczek when he fell behind 15-40 in the very next game. Raonic would convert his second break point to claim a double break lead, which he quickly turned into a 5-0 lead with another hold. The American finally got on the board in the following game to avoid the bagel, but could do nothing to stop Raonic as the top seed held to love to wrap up the opening set in just 24 minutes.
Raonic hangs on for victory
The tables appeared to turn at the start of the second set as Smyczek opened with a hold to love and finally began to put some real pressure on the Raonic serve, racing ahead 0-40 in the Canadian’s opening service game. But the top seed was up to the task, saving all three break points and then another at 40-AD, fighting through to hold for 1-1.
Things would settle down after the wild start and both men began holding serve with ease. In the next six games, neither man managed to win more than one point in a return game. In the crucial ninth game at 4-4, Smyczek finally blinked. Raonic brought up his first break point of the set at 30-40 and took advantage of the late opening, converting the break point to give himself a chance to serve out the match. The top seed made no mistake, holding to love to seal the win in just under an hour.
By the numbers
Raonic was at his big-serving best, doubling Smyczek in aces 10 to 5 while winning 90 percent of his first serve points (only losing three). Both men faced four break points in the match, but Raonic saved all four while the American only managed to save one.
Raonic will take on Borna Coric in the second round.