Raonic struggles, but finds 'courage' to win at U.S. Open

Milos Raonic serves to Peter Gojowczyk during their men's singles match at the U.S. Open in New...

Milos Raonic serves to Peter Gojowczyk during their men's singles match at the U.S. Open in New York, Aug. 28, 2014. (MIKE SEGAR/Reuters)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:48 AM ET

Milos Raonic struggled mightily with his serve Thursday night but eventually squeaked into the third round of the U.S. Open in New York.

The 23-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., needed three hours and six minutes to put down Peter Gojowczyk, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 (3), a match Raonic felt tested his mettle.

“I really stepped up at the end when it mattered,” he told TSN. “I made a few bad mistakes, but I went for it after hesitating for a long time throughout that match to really show some courage.”

At times it appeared the 124th ranked German might upset Canada’s world No. 6 player. Raonic’s powerful serve is often enough to give him a shot to beat just about anybody, but on nights like Thursday, it can be his worst enemy.

Raonic was barely able to make an impression in the opening set, putting just 40% of his first serves in play. He made up for it with his second-serve play, however, and neither opponent conceded a break point. Raonic was able to win the frame in a tiebreaker.

His first serve wasn’t much better in the second set, with only 56% put in play. Both players exchanged break points before Gojowczyk broke the Canadian to win the final game.

Raonic started to get into a rhythm in the third set and was firing on all cylinders by the fourth, during which he scorched 10 aces.

He fought back to even things at 2-2 after going down 2-0 early in the final frame. Despite squandering one opportunity to break Gojowczyk for the win, Raonic cruised through the tiebreaker and punched his ticket to the third round where he will face Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic.

On the women’s side, Eugenie Bouchard continued her quest to quell any notion she’s off her game.

The 20-year-old from Westmount, Que., registered her second straight win of the tournament – and first consecutive victories since Wimbledon in early July – setting aside Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-4.

After going up 2-0 in the second set, Bouchard soon found herself in a 5-4 hole and eventually lost in a tiebreaker.

She broke Cirstea early in the final set to go up 2-1, and after exchanging break points was able to hold on for the win.

Bouchard, who entered the tournament having lost four of her last five matches, has reached the semifinals in each Grand Slam so far this year and reached the final at Wimbledon.

She will face Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic in the third round.

In other Canadian action, Vasek Pospisil, along with American partner Jack Sock, rolled into the second round in men’s doubles.

The pair defeated Finnish duo Henri Kontinen and Jarkko Nieminen, 6-4, 6-4.

Champions at Wimbledon last month, Pospisil, of Vernon, B.C., and Sock are trying to repeat their recent Grand Slam success. Both aren’t at full strength, however, as Pospsil is dealing with a shoulder issue and Sock had to retire his first-round singles match due to a calf injury.


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