Day 1 Preview: Raonic Takes On Goffin
Milos Raonic might have hoped for a more favourable first-round assignment than Belgian No. 10 seed David Goffin in his Rogers Cup return. But after battling a slew of injuries throughout 2017 and at times this season, the Canadian No. 2 will take fitness over favourable draws any day.
Back ready to play before his home crowd in Toronto on Monday, the 27-year-old hopes the crowd and familiar surrounds will spark another surge. It was his Canadian fans that willed him on to a maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final in Montreal five years ago before he fell to Rafael Nadal.
After a freak eye injury ended his ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament semi-final clash with Grigor Dimitrov in February, Goffin has struggled. After a dismal grass-court season, he managed to reach the quarter-finals last week at the Citi Open, where he fell to Stefanos Tsitsipas. Raonic has not competed since a quad injury hampered his Wimbledon quarter-final clash with John Isner.
“I feel good. I’ve had 15 days of practice here in Toronto before the match-up,” Raonic said. “I’ve prepared as best as I can. It’s going to be a challenge.”
The pair has split four FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, with Goffin having won their most recent clash on clay in Madrid last year, but the Belgian has never passed the third round at the Rogers Cup. “Tough opponent,” Raonic said. “We’ve had quite a few close matches, in important tournaments like Masters even in Slams as well. It’s going to be tough.
“We play pretty much the opposite game style. I’m going to be there, trying to dictate, trying to keep things quick. He’s going to be there trying to get rhythm, trying to prolong things so it’s about who can get ahead first and play on their terms.”
Also on Monday, Raonic’s countryman, wild card Vasek Pospisil, will seek to avenge a Davis Cup defeat from February when he squares off against Croatian No. 20 in the ATP Rankings, Borna Coric. The Croatian denied Roger Federer a 10th Gerry Weber Open title in Halle on the grass before a surprise straight-sets opening round defeat to Daniil Medvedev at Wimbledon. After a first-round exit at Wimbledon, Pospisil reached the quarter-finals of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships but lost his opening match of the hard-court swing to Alex de Minaur in Washington.
Medvedev will be confident of inflicting more first-round pain on a seeded opponent when he faces No. 13 seed Jack Sock on Monday. The Russian, who won through qualifying, beat the American in the pair’s only prior FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting on grass at the Fever-Tree Championships at the Queen’s Club in June. Sock is desperate to snap a five-match losing streak dating back to May.