Raonic narrowly escapes with first-round win at U.S. Open

Milos Raonic hits a return to Santiago Giraldo during their men's singles match at the U.S. Open in...

Milos Raonic hits a return to Santiago Giraldo during their men's singles match at the U.S. Open in New York on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:48 AM ET

It took longer than he likely hoped or expected but Milos Raonic moved on to the second round of the U.S. Open Tuesday in Flushing Meadows.

Raonic, seeded 15th in the Grand Slam tourney, got his first win at the U.S. Open by coming back to beat Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 6-3, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in an opening-round marathon that lasted nearly three and a half hours.

The 21-year-old from Thornhill got off to a good start against unseeded Giraldo but dropped the next two sets to fall behind, mostly because of unforced errors. He finished with 55 in the match and converted just four of 12 break points, which overshadowed the 30 aces he had. Giraldo, meanwhile, had just two aces and 36 unforced errors.

“Just happy with the outcome and that I managed to sort of make the most of that moment and just find a way to win,” Raonic said. “Everything else I’ve gotta hope gets better in the next round. I just felt like a lot of basic stuff I wasn’t doing. I don’t think I struggled with my serve that much a long, long time.

“He was returning well, but I gave him the opportunity to return well. Last time I played him, I served consistently well throughout the match, so I just instilled a little bit of fear and doubt on his return game. Whereas today, I had way too many lapses.”

But Raonic, who appeared rattled at times but never caved, broke Giraldo’s serve when he needed it most. He got a break in the fourth set to tie it 3-3 then closed that one out with another break. The deciding game in the fifth came on a break of serve, too, the only one in the set.

After starting his U.S. Open career with a loss to Australian Carsten Ball in 2010, Raonic was forced to miss the 2011 event after having hip surgery that summer.

Raonic will face Paul-Henri Mathieu of France in the second round. Mathieu beat Igor Andreev of Russia in the opening round.

Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, Que., will play Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic in the second round Wednesday.


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