TORONTO — Canada’s Milos Raonic defeated Serbia’s Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4 at the Toronto Masters Tuesday to set up a potential third-round showdown with Olympic champion Andy Murray, while eighth seed John Isner survived a tough test.
Playing in his hometown tournament for the first time since cracking the world’s top-25, Raonic was not at his best but held serve throughout the 69-minute match while a rowdy crowd waved red signs with “Go Canada” splashed across in white letters.
“I’m proud with the way I competed, with the way I played, I did a lot of important things well but I have some space for improvements for my next match,” Raonic told reporters.
“I was pretty fluid and relaxed most of the match ... but I got a bit sloppy, maybe trying to force a little bit too much in the last few return games on his serve, and I was making some sloppy errors and giving away too many points at that point.”
The big-serving 21-year-old, who will join forces with Troicki for a doubles match Wednesday, broke his opponent in the eighth game of the opening set for a 5-3 lead and remained in relative control the rest of the way.
The match was Raonic’s first since his 6-3, 3-6, 25-23 loss to Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga last week in what was at the time the longest three-set match in Olympic tennis history.
Raonic, who as the tournament’s 16th seed had a first-round bye, will play the winner of Wednesday’s match between Murray and Italian qualifier Flavio Cipolla for a spot in the quarterfinal of the tournament.
Isner, playing his first match since losing to world No. 1 Roger Federer in the quarterfinals at the London Olympics, needed one hour and 48 minutes to secure a 7-6, 7-5 victory over a plucky Pablo Andujar of Spain.
Andujar, the world No. 44, managed to frustrate Isner by chasing down an array of shots but ultimately ran out of answers as Isner, who recorded 17 aces, relied on his power and his big serve to advance.
Americans Mardy Fish and Sam Querrey also advanced to the third round. Fish beat Matthew Ebden of Australia 6-2, 6-0 and Querrey ousted Jurgen Melzer of Austria 6-3, 6-2.
In other matches, Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic upset Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 6-3, 6-1 ; former world No. 2 Tommy Haas of Germany stopped David Nalbandian of Argentina 6-2, 6-7 (11), 6-3; Mikhail Youzhny of Russia held off Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-1, 7-6 (3); and Juan Monaco of Argentina outlasted Vasek Pospisil of Canada 7-5, 6-4.
Novak Djokovic is unsure how well he will compete on hardcourt this week at the Toronto Masters.
The world No. 2, who left the London Games without a medal, will have had a day to acclimatize before starting his title defense in the second round against Australian Bernard Tomic.
The pair have played twice on the ATP, at Wimbledon and Rome, with the Serb winning both meetings.
“The transition from grass court to hard court is going to be very difficult because we have very little time, only a few days,” Djokovic said. “But we were aware of that fact at the start of the season.
“Now we will try to do it in the most efficient, best possible way. How it’s going to go, I’m not sure. I cannot predict anything else in my opening match. But it will obviously take a little bit of time to do that.” — Agencies