Pro Tennis Internet Network

Raonic Reaches Second Round

Barcelona, Spain

Giraldo© Sergio CarmonaSantiago Giraldo ousted No. 18 seed Denis Istomin.

Canadian Milos Raonic, the No. 11 seed, started his campaign for a third ATP World Tour title of the year on Monday with a 6-4, 7-6(3) win over Alejandro Falla of Colombia at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. The 21-year-old Raonic hit seven aces and converted three of his four break point opportunities for victory in one hour and 42 minutes.

"It was a good step forward," he said. "I've been able to practise very well the last few weeks, especially last week in Monte-Carlo, but I didn't play well in my match, which was very disappointing.

"Today was not the greatest of days, but I'm happy to put the win together and get it right. I feel like there's a lot I can do better so I'm happy to give myself another chance in the next round. Falla is a very good player. My serve was key in getting the win."

Raonic, who has lifted silverware at the Aircel Chennai Open (d. Tipsarevic) and the SAP Open in San Jose (d. Istomin), improved to an 18-4 season record.

"My objective is to win the next round," said Raonic, who next faces the winner between Igor Andreev and Diego Junqueira. "Improving is the most important but I want to give myself more opportunities to win."

Falla's compatriot Santiago Giraldo knocked out No. 18 seed Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 7-6(3), 6-4 in one hour and 40 minutes.

Dutchman Robin Haase, a quarter-finalist last week in Monte-Carlo, held a 6-1, 3-2 lead when Sergei Bubka retired from the first-round match with an ankle injury.

Finland's Jarkko Nieminen, who is making his 10th appearance at this ATP World Tour 500 tournament, advanced with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Spaniard Javier Marti.

Belgian Steve Darcis battled past Andrey Golubev 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(5) in two hours and 36 minutes, despite converting just one of his nine break point chances, and next confronts 2010 champion Fernando Verdasco of Spain.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky dismissed lucky loser Evgeny Donskoy 6-2, 6-3 to set up a second-round meeting with World No. 4 Andy Murray.

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