Milos Raonic prevails vs. qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov in Rotterdam
Second-seeded Milos Raonic was made to work for a 6-7 (5), 6-1, 7-5 victory over qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov and a place in the second round of the World Tennis Tournament on Tuesday.
Coming off an Australian Open quarterfinals loss, Raonic hit 19 aces to rally past the 23-year-old Russian in a contest lasting nearly two hours. Raonic got off to a sluggish start but managed to claw his way back into the match with his big serve.
The sixth-ranked Canadian, who will take on Simone Bolelli in the next round, lost only six points on his first serve.
"It's about fighting through," Raonic said. "I kept my attitude together, which allowed me to get my game and find answers toward the end, and that's why I was able to win."
Third-seeded Tomas Berdych had an easier day, advancing with a 6-1, 7-5 win over lucky loser Tobias Kamke. But the hard-hitting Czech, who fired 11 aces, was not satisfied with his game after letting his German opponent break him twice.
"It was most definitely not the perfect first round," Berdych said. "Actually, I think it's better. If you start almost perfect, then you don't have space to improve. Definitely after today there are many things to improve."
Earlier, eighth-seeded Gilles Simon defeated Joao Sousa 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 and Vasek Pospisil converted three of his four break points in a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Philip Kohlschreiber.
Sergiy Stakhovsky will face Dominic Thiem in the second round after beating Marcel Granollers 6-2, 7-6 (7).