Canadian Milos Raonic rolls into third round at Wimbledon

LONDON — Milos Raonic’s big serve has powered the Canadian to another victory at Wimbledon.

The No. 13 seed advanced to the third round of the grass-court Grand Slam with a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4) victory over unseeded Australian John Millman on Wednesday.

Raonic, who said he was battling a virus, had just four break-point opportunities in the match, winning one.

But Millman did next to nothing against Raonic’s serve, converting on one of two break-point chances. Raonic had 34 aces, compared to only three for Millman.

Raonic fell just short of a Wimbledon record as one of his serves was clocked at 147 miles per hour. American Taylor Dent set the record in 2010 with a 148 m.p.h. blast.

“For the first set and a half I didn’t really create much, especially on his serve,” Raonic told reporters after the match. “I was fortunate to get through that tiebreaker on two well-played points. And then I thought I started playing well midway through the second set. … But overall, happy to be through and happy to be moving on.”

The 27-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., leads the ATP Tour in the past year with wins in 73.7 per cent of his tiebreaks — and Raonic continued that trend in his second-round victory.

A return to Wimbledon for the 2016 finalist seems to have given Raonic a boost. He lost in the first round of the Australian Open this year and missed the French Open with an injury, one of several health setbacks during the past few years.

“I feel good. Body has behaved,” Raonic said. “Obviously we are very cautious with it, because it’s tough to ask the body to stop and start all the time. We pay a lot more attention with the treatments after matches, after practices, we are spending a lot of time just to negate anything from coming up. I feel good, moving well on court, I feel like I’m doing the things well. And hopefully my body allows me to play plenty of tennis.”

Raonic also avoided a confrontation with a seeded player in the third round as qualifier Dennis Novak of Austria upset No. 17 Lucas Paille of France 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (8), 3-6, 6-2 on Tuesday.

Novak, ranked 171st in the world, defeated Canadian Peter Polansky in the first round. Novak and Raonic will be squaring off for the first time. Raonic said he hasn’t seen his opponent play.

“I have 48 hours to learn as much as I can, but luckily for me, my game is always about imposing myself on the other guy more so than adjusting to the other guy,” Raonic said.

Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., and No. 26 seed Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., are scheduled to play second-round singles matches on Thursday. Shapovalov faces No. 17 seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia, while Shapovalov battles unseeded Benoit Paire of France.

Meanwhile, Gabriela Dabrowski of Ottawa and partner Yifan Xu of China, the sixth seeds in the women’s doubles draw, had their first-round match against American Alison Riske and Olga Savchuk of Ukraine suspended because of rain on Wednesday. Riske and Savchuk lead 7-6 (5), 2-6, 3-2 in a match scheduled to conclude on Thursday.

Dabrowski will begin mixed doubles play later this week as part of the top-seeded team with Mate Pavic of Croatia. They get a bye in the first round.

Two Canadians in men’s doubles also play first-round matches on Thursday.

Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil teams up with American Ryan Harrison to face the German duo of Philipp Petzschner and Tim Puetz. Toronto’s Daniel Nestor joins forces with Austrian Jurgen Melzer to meet No. 8 seeds Nikola Mektic of Croatia and Alexander Peya of Austria.

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