Raonic, Pospisil win on Day 1 of the U.S. Open

Milos Raonic (left) & Vasek Pospisil (right) during their first round match at the U.S. Open. Photo: REUTERS/Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports/Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Two Canadians were in action on Day 1 of the U.S. Open. Vasek Pospisil was up first in the old Grandstand facing Josef Kovalik while fifth seed Milos Raonic was last on Court 17 facing Dustin Brown. Here’s a recap of their matches:

MILOS RAONIC EDGES DUSTIN BROWN TO ADVANCE IN THE NEXT ROUND

Raonic came into the U.S. Open with one goal in mind — win his first Grand Slam after falling short at Wimbledon. Thus, the Canadian was happy to win his first round match in straight-sets against Germany’s Dustin Brown 7–5, 6–3, 6–4.

Looking at the scoreline, it seemed like the 25-year-old Thornhill, Ontario-native had a straightforward opening round, but he had some shaky service games especially in the opening set with only 36 percent of his first serves in.

“(I) Had trouble with my serve even throughout the match. It got better and better, but definitely something I’m going to put some time into tomorrow,” Raonic said in his post-game press conference.

“I know it’s something that I can get back on track pretty quickly, but definitely was not where I would have liked it to be to start the match.”

Milos Raonic hits a forehand during his first round match at the U.S. Open. Photo: Reuters/Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

After the opening set, Raonic cruised through the next two sets, converting break points to take the lead early in the game. He also served better as the match went on finishing with 56 percent of his first serves put in play. Raonic was also effective on the net moving forward 27 times, winning 70 percent of those. He wrapped up the match in one hour and 43 minutes with 41 winners and 19 unforced errors.

“I would have wished to play better, but it’s not the goal to be playing my best tennis in the first round. It’s about getting through and giving myself a chance to get better in the next round,” said Raonic.

The Canadian’s entourage is one man down from Wimbledon. Earlier this week, John McEnroe stated that he wouldn’t be coaching Raonic during the tournament. The Canadian addressed it in the press conference saying that the decision was mutual and “there’s no ill feelings about it.” Before McEnroe’s departure from the team, he still practiced with Raonic last week, working on certain things to improve his game.

Raonic will face American Ryan Harrison in the second round on Wednesday. It will be their third meeting but first in a major tournament. They last faced each other since Pacific Coast Championships in San Jose, California in 2012 where Raonic won. However, the Canadian knows lots have changed since then.

“ I know the things he liked to do back then. Obviously, times have changed on both sides of the court, mine and his.

“So I’ll definitely do some research and maybe try to watch a little bit of that match he played yesterday, maybe have a few words with other players that have played him over a recent period of time,” Raonic said about his next opponent.

VASEK POSPISIL (FINALLY) WINS A FIRST ROUND MATCH

Vasek Pospisil came into the U.S. Open looking to salvage a disappointing season so far. And what a huge sigh of relief must be for the Canadian with a straight-sets first-round win against Slovakian Josef Kovalik 6–1, 6–3, 6–3.

How bad did Pospisil want the win? Well, he let out a loud scream and did big fist pump.

Twitter/Michael Gallo

“It’s huge. I just felt like I played a great match,” Pospisil said in his post-game press conference.

“More than the win, what was most more important for me today was that I felt like I found my identity, found myself again on the court playing with great energy and fighting for every point and just had the right mentality.”

Pospisil, ranked 123rd in the world, has not won a first round match in the previous three grand slams this year. He is also playing in the tournament without a coach. The first round win was a much-needed victory for the Canadian who have seen his drops dramatically after early exits on tournaments.

The 26-year-old Vernon, B.C. native had a comfortable opening set, breaking the Slovakian serve twice. He was winning 81 percent of his first serves and was perfect 7 for 7 in the net.

Pospisil went on to win the next two sets easily. He looked relaxed on court, hitting some big winners on critical points. The Canadian would consolidate the breaks he converted and didn’t give the Slovakian any chance to come back.

Vasek Pospisil during his first round match at the U.S. Open. Photo: Reuters/Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

“I came into the match today focused and I knew that from point one (that I wanted)to show that fight and be resilient and play point by point. I did that quite well throughout the whole match,” said Pospisil.

After a one hour and 35 minutes win, Pospisil ended up with 26 winners and 27 unforced errors. He put 68 percent of his first serves in play, winning 76 percent.

Pospisil will play the 23rd seed Kevin Anderson in the second round on Wednesday. The two have met once in a Masters 1000 event in Rome where Anderson won in straight sets. However, like Pospisil, Anderson’s win on Monday was his first first round win in a Grand slam tournament this year. The Canadians is expecting a shorter rally game from the South African.

“I don’t expect that to be an incredibly physical match. He’s a big server even if it’s a 5-set match. It’s not going to be a gruelling baseline rally kind of match so that’s good.”

You can catch Raonic and Pospisil’s second round matches on Wednesday on TSN. Time and court assignment still to be determined. Meanwhile, Eugenie Bouchard will play her first round match on Tuesday against Katerina Siniakova. It will be the second match on the new grandstand court. It will air on TSN 1/4 at approximately 1:30 PM ET.