Canadian ace Milos Raonic struggled with his serve but still managed to advance to the second round of the Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championship Tuesday in Newport, Rhode Island.
Raonic, the tournament's third seed, banged out 26 aces but converted just 52% of his first serves during a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over 80th-ranked Matthew Ebden of Australia. Not pretty but it was enough to earn him a meeting with qualifier Benjamin Becker of Germany in the next round.
"The surface is tough," Raonic said. "There were a lot of tricky bounces. It's more of an old-style grass court. You try not to get yourself in trouble.
"I was at 52% on first serves, which is not a good thing for me, but it was enough to get the job done "¦ It's about doing what you got to do to win and giving myself the opportunity to play better tennis tomorrow."
Raonic's serve came through when he needed it most, though. Down 3-4 in the third set, he saved two break points on serve to win the game. He reeled off wins in three of the next four games to close it out.
Becker cruised to a 6-4, 6-3 win over David Goffin of Belgium to set up the meeting with Raonic.
Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver had a short day at the office, losing 6-1, 6-1 to Lleyton Hewitt of Australia in a match that lasted just under 50 minutes.