Milos, ‘Genie’ reach third round
NEW YORK—Canadians Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard reached the third round of the U.S. Open yesterday—earning tough night-time victories in swirling winds against dangerous opponents.
Fifth-seeded Raonic took revenge for a summer loss on grass in Halle, Germany as he defeated German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (3).
Bouchard will face Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the third round.
The seventh-seeded Bouchard was the only woman to reach the semi-finals at the year’s first three Grand Slam tournaments.
She lost in that round at the Australian Open and French Open, before her run at the All England Club made her the first Canadian tennis player to reach a major final.
The 20-year-old Bouchard won the first set against Cirstea yesterday, and twice recovered from a break down in the second one as her fighting spirit at the big events came into evidence.
But Cirstea, ranked 80th after standing 21st a year ago, took the match into a third set as midnight approached.
“I had to battle in the second set; her game was getting a lot more solid,” noted Bouchard.
“I believed in myself,” she added. “I told myself to keep fighting.
“I started taking the ball early and it paid off.”
Bouchard went up an early break in the final set but lost it—only to break the Romanian back for 4-3 on a double-fault.
Cirstea saved a match point in the ensuing game before Bouchard finally served out the winner after more than two hours a game later—firing off back-to-back service winners.
“It’s so special to play my first match on Ashe stadium at night,” said Bouchard.
“I’m so excited to have a chance to play another match,” she added.
“I want to improve my tennis for that one.”
World No. 6 Raonic, meanwhile, ended with 26 aces as he heads into an upcoming match against 34-year-old tournament debutant Victor Estrella Burgos after the player from the Domenican Republic defeated 17-year-old Croatian Borna Coric 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
“It’s about finding a way and getting through. That’s what I was able to do,” noted Raonic.
“I have one day now to get better and I know I’ll play better my next match.”
Raonic still feels he has improvements to make in his game.
“I wasn’t focusing on the right things. I got a little bit caught up,” he admitted.
“I didn’t focus on my stuff.
“I was getting a little too caught up in him rather than focusing on myself,” he remarked.
Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., improved his New York record to 8-3 as he plays for the fourth time in five years after missing 2011 following hip surgery.
Conditions were difficult for both players in the wind, but Raonic said the weather “didn’t really matter.”
“You just have to deal with things as they come and find a way to win,” he reasoned.
“It could have been perfectly calm today and been a different story.”