Tennis: Raonic edges Tiafoe in an epic first-round match at Toronto tournament

AP , Tuesday 8 Aug 2023

Canada’s Milos Raonic beat American Frances Tiafoe 6-7 (12), 7-6 (4), 6-3 in an epic first-round match Monday night at the National Bank Open.

Milos Raonic
Milos Raonic of Canada shakes hands with Frances Tiafoe of the United States following Raonic s win during Day One of the National Bank Open, part of the Hologic ATP Tour, at Sobeys Stadium on August 7, 2023 in Toronto, Canada. Photo: AFP

 

The ninth-seeded Tiafoe outlasted the Canadian in a 20-minute tiebreaker in the first set. But Raonic, who grew up in nearby Thornhill, Ontario, took the second set in a tiebreaker and went on to complete the victory in 2 hours, 44 minutes.

This is Raonic’s third tournament appearance since returning to the ATP Tour in June after an injury absence of nearly two years.

“It doesn’t matter how much you do the right things, you never know when things (will) click and things come together for you,” Raonic said. “For me, it’s incredibly special for it to be here.”

On the deciding point of the first set, a Raonic return clipped the tape on top of the net, popped up in the air and bounced on Tiafoe’s side.

The American lunged forward and made a cross-court winner. However, Tiafoe grabbed the top of the net as his momentum took him forward, which would normally cost him the point.

However, the chair umpire ruled in Tiafoe’s favor and a second on-court official confirmed the decision.

A Tennis Canada statement from tournament referee Tony Cho explained the ruling: “Tiafoe touched the area between the singles stick and net post. This area is considered a permanent fixture so not part of the net.”

Raonic said the original call went his way but the umpire changed his mind. The discussion then shifted to which part of the net was touched, he added.

“I don’t have faith that they were being completely honest, but it is what it is,” Raonic said. “I think they just handled it badly. Whatever the rule (was), I just don’t think it was handled (well).”

The partisan crowd at Sobeys Stadium voiced its disapproval and Raonic smashed his racket on the player’s bench.

Raonic was able to reset. He finished with a 37-8 edge in aces.

“Good play and good fortune kind of got me through,” he said.

Raonic has one of four wild cards for this week’s 56-man singles competition. He will face Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel in the next round.

In the late match, Italy’s Matteo Arnaldi beat Vasek Pospisil of Vernon, British Columbia, 6-4, 6-4.

American Tommy Paul, the No. 12 seed, beat Argentine qualifier Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, the No. 15 seed, topped Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik 6-3, 7-6 (2), and 16th-seeded Italian Lorenzo Musetti posted a 6-4, 6-1 win over Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka.

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