Raonic, Dancevic both win openers
LONDON—Milos Raonic and Frank Dancevic threw a one-two winning punch for Canada today as the eighth seed and the “lucky loser” combined for a pair of first-round Wimbledon victories within minutes of each other.
Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., fired 30 aces—compared to two for his opponent—in a comfortable 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 win over Australia’s Matthew Ebden that took little more than 90 minutes.
Raonic, who lost his only grass tune-up match this month at Halle, Germany, is into the Wimbledon second round for the fourth-straight year.
But he hopes to go farther after never winning two matches in a row at this event.
The 23-year-old was never in trouble from Ebden, with the Canadian claiming the first two sets and breaking for a lead in the third.
Raonic sent over a service winner for three match points, but needed only one as he put a volley into the far corner out of Ebden’s reach.
“I feel really good about this win, I played a lot better than I expected to,” noted Raonic.
“I showed that I can adjust my game on this surface,” added the right-hander with a 10-10 career record on grass.
“I did what was necessary to win,” Raonic said.
“I think my Roland Garros quarter-final gave me confidence, and showed me that I know what I need to do to win in these situations and eventually get into the second week of slams.”
Dancevic, a 29-year-old from Niagara Falls, Ont., has played in the main draw at the All England Club seven times and earned his third Wimbledon win as he overcame 32 Karlovic aces.
Dancevic never faced a break point while breaking the Croatian once.
He advanced with 47 winners and just four unforced errors.
Dancevic entered the field as a lucky loser from the qualifying round and won his first match at the ATP level since the U.S. Open first round over Robin Haase last August.
“It feels great, I haven’t been on this grass while,” Dancevic said.
“I felt motivated by the whole atmosphere and being given a chance to be alive here at Winmbledon.”
In women’s action, Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland beat Toronto’s Sharon Fichman 6-1, 6-3, with the 85th-ranked Canadian admitting she was outplayed.
“I’m starting to like the grass,” said the 23-year-old who was making her main draw debut at the All England Club.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t plays as well as I could have.”
Women’s 13th seed Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que. faced veteran Daniela Hantuchova later today.
In other first-round action today, two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal was made to work hard for his opening-round win today, rallying from one set down before beating hard-hitting Martin Klizan of Slovakia.
The top-ranked Nadal battled for nearly three hours to erase memories of his loss in the first round last year, prevailing 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
The 14-time Grand Slam champion, who won his ninth French Open title earlier this month, next will face Lukas Rosol, who beat him here two years ago in the second round.
Roger Federer, meanwhile, strolled to a 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Paolo Lorenzi—a one-sided encounter that gave the Swiss star a quick workout to start his quest for an eighth Wimbledon crown and 18th Grand Slam championship.
On the women’s side, French Open champ Maria Sharapova defeated British wild-card entry Samantha Murray 6-1, 6-0.
The fifth-seeded Sharapova won her first Grand Slam title at the All England Club 10 years ago as a 17-year-old and added her fifth last month in a three-set win over Simona Halep at Roland Garros.
She could face five-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams in the quarter-finals.