Dodig cleans up against rubbish Raonic

2013 AEGON International

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

MilosRaonicMilos Raonic’s Devonshire Park debut proved disastrous with Croatian Ivan Dodig sending the giant Canadian packing in 83 minutes on Wedneday.

Raonic, the top seed who only entered the tournament as a late wildcard last Thursday, was dismissed 6-2 7-6 – but put up a battle in the tiebreak that he lost 9-7.

Dogged Dodi, the world no54, thumped a dozen aces in the one-sided clash, and reeled off the opening set in 35 minutes.

The Canadian 22-year-old dropped his serve in the first game and was broken with ease in the seventh game, Dodig sealing the set with a breathtaking forehand volley winner that delighted the Centre Court crowd.

With neither player losing their serve in a more conservative second set, littered with aces, the ultimate tiebreak could have gone either way. Dodig double faulted to gift the no1 seed a golden opportunity to square the contest, but battled back and with a fierce backhand cross court winner made it 9-7 to storm into the 3rd Round.

World no15 Raonic admitted that his performance was way below par, and will be hoping that his recent blip on the ATP circuit does not continue with a poor showing at next week’s Wimbledon.

He explained: “I couldn’t have started in a worse way, missing four backhands to start the match.

“I had break chances but then lost my serve easily again. The defeat comes down on me because of things I didn’t do.

“I was trying to get a little bit closer and I had my chance in the tiebreak, but I don’t think I should let situations where I get two double faults from my opponent pass by and not win the tiebreak – that’s pretty bad.

“I really cant play much worse, so it’s only going to get better going into Wimbledon – which I think is positive.”

Raonic, who has recently appointed former ATP Tour world no3 Ivan Ljubicic on a trial basis as coach, said: “With Ivan we are trying to incorporate things and understanding that it’s not always going to work.

“It’s not about winning practice sets but about having a long-term goal. I have a way that I need to play if I want to achieve the things I want to achieve down the road, including breaking into the top 10.”

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