Raonic, Levine advance
MELBOURNE, Australia—Canada’s Milos Raonic overcame a shaky start to win his opening match at the Australian Open today.
Raonic dropped the first set but reversed his momentum to score a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (0) victory over Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic to advance to the second round.
But he wasn’t particularly pleased with his effort.
“It was not my finest two-and-a-half hours,” admitted Raonic.
“I wasn’t putting anything on the ball the whole match, I was playing a little bit tight,” he noted. “I wasn’t hitting freely.
“I was just letting him get in the points and get in the match.”
Raonic also dominated the fourth-set tiebreaker, winning on the first of six match points in windy conditions he said weren’t a factor.
“The wind wasn’t that bad, as bad as it seemed, it was actually pretty OK to play,” he noted.
“I just wasn’t swinging freely, and then just the wind seem a lot worse than it is.
“But it was the first match,” he reasoned. “I’m just looking to get better and better.”
Later, Ottawa’s Jesse Levine outslugged Spain’s Tommy Robredo, a former world No. 5, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-4 in a match that went just over three hours.
Levine, playing in his first Grand Slam as a Canadian after previously representing the United States, will face 12th-seeded Gilles Simon of France in the second round.
“You are always happy to win any match in a Slam,” noted Levine, who said he made his change of nationality because he felt at age 25 that the time was right.
“The first two sets were tie-breakers against a tough player,” he added. “I’m happy I played really well.”
Earlier, Rebecca Marino made a losing start to the season after being eliminated 6-3, 6-0 in the first round of women’s play by China’s Peng Shuai.
The match was the first in a main draw this season for the 22-year-old Vancouver native, who took more than half-a-year off in 2012 to get her focus back.
“This is my first Grand Slam back and you could tell I was rusty,” noted Marino, who said had she not taken time away from the game, she wouldn’t have been on the court today.
“I had a lot of nerves at the start—jelly legs.”