Raonic will be no cakewalk for Murray at Rogers Cup

Andy Murray has his left knee worked on during an injury timeout in his match against Flavio...

Andy Murray has his left knee worked on during an injury timeout in his match against Flavio Cipolla at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Ont., Aug. 8, 2012. (MIKE CASSESE/Reuters)

DAVE POLLARD, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:40 PM ET

TORONTO - Andy Murray got his cake.

The big chocolate slab was rolled out Wednesday at Centre Court following a quick straight-set win over Italian qualifier Flavio Cipolla, a simple gesture to honour Murray's gold-medal win at the London Olympics. And, yeah, he did dig in for a few mouthfuls after carving out the cake's decorative medal to save as a souvenir.

Now we'll find out if he gets to, figuratively at least, eat his cake, too, at the expense of Canadian hopeful Milos Raonic.

Murray set up the marquee matchup of the Rogers Cup -- a tasty third-round showdown with 16th-seeded Raonic -- by shoving aside Cipolla 6-1, 6-3. But as easy as it was for Murray, who looked a little worse for wear after a whirlwind few days, the win was still a little painful.

Literally, this time.

The 25-year-old Scot needed an injury timeout during a changeover in the second set for what appeared to be a tight left quadriceps muscle and he limped slightly during the final four games, often grabbing at his knee.

"It's just a little bit sore," Murray said. "I mean, I haven't played a match on a hard court for four months. On the hard courts, the knees and the ankles and the hips take quite a fair pounding. Because I haven't had enough days to adjust to the surface, that's probably why there were a few aches and pains.

"I feel a little bit sore in the joints and stuff. I feel OK. I mean, I feel tired mentally. I haven't really slept much the last few days so that's probably catching up with me a little bit."

Advantage, Raonic?

With Murray clearly run down emotionally -- he said he has slept an average of four to five hours a night, less than half his normal routine, and is probably getting by on adrenalin -- and probably a little banged up physically, you'd have to give Raonic a slight edge.

Working in the 21-year-old Canadian's favour, as well, is that Murray is the only top-four player he has ever beaten. That came in the quarterfinals of the Barcelona Open four months ago, so the result is probably still fresh in the minds of both players.

Raonic will have a rowdy hometown crowd on his side, which could provide an emotional boost to put him over the top.

"Yeah, it will be tough," Murray said of facing Raonic. "He'll obviously be very motivated playing in his own country. You know, he has improved a lot over the last year, year and a half. He's playing really, really good tennis.

"Very big guy with a big game. Serves well and hits the ball very hard. So, yeah, it will be a tough match."

Earlier this week, it looked like the Raonic-Murray matchup might never take place. Heck, it still might not, given Murray's wonky left leg.

The fact of the matter is, Murray didn't know if he was going to play even after he landed in Toronto.

"I spoke to the guys and we thought the best thing to do was to come see how I feel when I arrive here, practise on the courts and then make the decision after that," he said. "I felt OK (in the) morning when I practised and decided to give it a go."

Come Thursday, we'll see if he has the hunger to beat one of the game's rising stars and, in the process, deprive starving Canadian tennis fans of the chance to gorge themselves on thoughts of Raonic glory.


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