Hot-serv­ing Raonic ad­vances in Paris

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

PARIS, France (AP): FOURTH-SEEDED Mi­los Raonic hit 17 aces and as he beat Spa­niard Pablo Car­reno Busta 7-6 (5), 6-4 yes­ter­day to reach the third round of the Paris Masters.

The big-serv­ing Cana­dian has been ham­pered by a re­cent right an­kle in­jury that forced him to with­draw ahead of his China Open semi-fi­nal three weeks ago.

Since then, he lost in the third round of the Shang­hai Masters and in the first round of the Swiss In­doors last week.

But he was mov­ing freely as he beat Car­reno Busta for the third time in as many ca­reer meet­ings – all of them this year.

“The an­kle is im­prov­ing. I still have it wrapped up for safety,” Raonic said. “But it’s not re­ally caus­ing any nui­sance.”

Nei­ther player faced a break point in the first set. At 5-5 in the tiebreaker, Car­reno Busta pat­ted a re­turn into the net and Raonic sealed the set with an ace.

He se­cured the only break in the sec­ond set when his op­po­nent scooped a low shot into the net from the base­line.

SEALED VIC­TORY

Raonic, a run­ner-up here to top-ranked No­vak Djokovic two years ago, sealed vic­tory with con­sec­u­tive aces.

“It’s al­ways im­por­tant for me to serve well,” Raonic said. “I haven’t served that well this sum­mer, this hard court swing.”

Ear­lier, To­mas Berdych avoided an­other early exit by beat­ing Joao Sousa 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 to reach the third round.

At 4-4 in the de­cid­ing set, Berdych trailed 15-40 and saved two break points.

Al­though Berdych won the Shen­zhen Open in China last month, the Czech player’s form dropped sharply with first-round ex­its at the Japan Open and the Erste Bank Open in Vi­enna. In­be­tween, there was a sec­on­dround loss at the Shang­hai Masters.

Los­ing so many rank­ing points forced Berdych out of the top 10 for the first time since reach­ing the 2010 Wim­ble­don fi­nal. It also leaves him need­ing to reach the semi-fi­nals in Paris to have a chance of qual­i­fy­ing for the sea­son-end­ing ATP fi­nals in London – a dif­fi­cult task con­sid­er­ing he could face Andy Mur­ray in the quar­ter-fi­nals.

Berdych, the 2005 Paris Masters cham­pion, next face ei­ther 10th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut or Gilles Si­mon.

Seven play­ers are vy­ing for the two re­main­ing spots in London.

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