Canadians keep rolling at Wimbledon
LONDON — Milos Raonic didn’t seem that thrilled about reaching the third round of Wimbledon for the first time in his career.
After all, the No. 8 seed is chasing far loftier goals.
Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., defeated American Jack Sock 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in Wimbledon’s second round on Thursday. And while this is the first time he has progressed this far at the All England Club, he wasn’t about to gush over a third-round appearance.
“It might sound a little bit harsh, but (I don’t have) too much feeling for it,” he said. “I want to do much better than I have to this point and than I have done today.”
Raonic was later joined in the third round by women’s 13th seed Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., who defeated Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain 7-5, 6-1.
While Raonic spoke of improvement, he never looked in trouble against Sock. He had 13 aces, 39 winners and three breaks of serve in the match.
“I found a rhythm. For me, the most important thing, especially on grass, is finding that rhythm on second serve return,” said Raonic. “I found that quite early on, and I was able to stick through it. In both of first two sets I was able to get early breaks, which helps. I was clean off my service games.
“At all of these majors, I want to play better than I have in the past, to fight, compete and try to play better each day.”
Raonic will face Poland’s Lukasz Kubot in the third round. Kubot advanced with a 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (3) win over Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic.
Sock managed to rebound later Thursday when he teamed with Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil for a 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 men’s first-round doubles win over Dutch duo Robin Haase and Jesse Huta Galung.
Bouchard had a tough start to her match but improved as it went on. She needed 44 minutes to win the first set but just 22 to claim the second and close out victory with six breaks of serve and 17 winners.
“Even though it was a little close in the first set, I still felt I was very close to playing well, I wasn’t too worried,” Bouchard said. “I knew it would click after a few points or games, however long it took. So I’m happy that it did finally. My shots were a lot freer in the second.
“Of course the goal is to always start as well as I can. Sometimes that doesn’t happen and you have to figure a way out of it.”
The 2012 junior Wimbledon champion has duplicated her third round from last year’s main draw debut and next plays German Andrea Petkovic.
Bouchard and Soler-Espinosa traded two sets of service breaks in the first set, with the 20-year-old Canadian taking a 6-5 lead and earning the opener a game later. The second set was all Bouchard as the seed ran away to her 32nd victory of the season.
“I was just really trying to go for my shots,” Bouchard said.
“It just took a little bit of time but I’m happy I adapted and really kind of moved forward without looking back in the second.”
Also Thursday, Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls, Ont., played through hip pain but lost 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 to Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan.
Dancevic, who got into the main draw as a lucky loser, said that a good result from a scan on his lower pelvis Wednesday gave him the confidence to take to the court Thursday.
“This is not a major issue so I decided to push through and play in some pain,” he said. “I was struggling yesterday, it was a rough day.”
Dancevic, who was sporting a new mohawk haircut, has struggled with back issues before and didn’t want to take any chances this time.
“I didn’t want to risk a lot an end up being out for the summer,” he said. “I’m on a pretty decent streak, I feel I can have a good summer and rest of the year.”
“I would have had to serve extremely well to win this match, I was struggling on ground stroke and I didn’t feel 100 per cent,” he added. “I think the issue is treated to bending on grass, this stiffness in lower pelvic region.”
Dancevic never gained a foothold against Kukushkin, failing to convert on any of his five break points.
The Canadian managed seven aces and ended with 23 winners and 27 unforced errors.
Kukushkin next faces second seed Rafael Nadal, who was a 4-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4, 6-4 winner over Lukas Rosol.