Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada's Raonic Defeats Benneteau at Rogers Cup While Top-Seeded Djokovic Falls

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada's Raonic Defeats Benneteau at Rogers Cup While Top-Seeded Djokovic Falls

Article excerpt

Raonic defeats Benneteau at Rogers Cup

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TORONTO - Canada's Milos Raonic strolled into the post-match interview room at Rexall Centre and immediately looked over at the television monitor beside his seat.

He watched the screen intently as Roger Federer and Marin Cilic squared off on the stadium court before sitting down to discuss his 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Julien Benneteau at the Rogers Cup.

Raonic will next meet Feliciano Lopez in the quarter-finals but the possibility of another semifinal showdown with Federer -- just a month after they met in the final four at Wimbledon -- has Canadian tennis fans drooling.

So, is a potential rematch with the Swiss star in the back of his mind?

"No, I just enjoy to watch tennis," Raonic said with a grin.

Federer ended Raonic's run at the All England Club before losing to Novak Djokovic in the final. It was a career-best performance at the Grand Slam event for the 23-year-old Canadian, but his performance against Federer left him disappointed and frustrated.

Raonic responded last week by winning in Washington and he has maintained the momentum this week, although he has been tested in both of his matches. The No. 6 seed from Thornhill, Ont., barely got by American Jack Sock in his opener before getting another stiff challenge from Benneteau on Thursday night.

The hard-serving Raonic controlled the early pace with his powerful ground strokes but the Frenchman picked up two breaks in the second set to pull even. Raonic broke Benneteau at love to open the third set and was never threatened after that.

"Today I was (in) much more (of) a comfort zone -- created my opportunities," Raonic said.

It was a day of upsets at the US$3.78-million Masters 1000 series tournament as three of the top four seeds were eliminated.

South Africa's Kevin Anderson got things started in the morning by knocking off No. 3 Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland 7-6 (8), 7-5 and No. 13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France followed with a 6-2, 6-2 win over top-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia.

In the evening, Lopez pulled out a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. The second-seeded Federer held off Cilic, the No. 15 seed from Croatia, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 6-4.

With a near-capacity crowd cheering him on, Raonic had little trouble in the opening set. He was pushed to deuce at one point but a volley winner and 221-km/h service winner gave him the hold and a 4-3 lead.

In the following game, Raonic landed a scorching forehand in the corner to set up a break point and took the game when Benneteau made an unforced error. He closed out the set when the ball struck the net tape and softly landed on Benneteau's side.

Benneteau appeared to get more of a read on Raonic's serve in the second set but he couldn't match up in the third. The Frenchman fought off three match points in the penultimate game before Raonic closed things out in one hour 47 minutes. …

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