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By Gokul Pillai
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Milos Raonic showed magnificent level of composure to win an ATP World Tour title in 16 years as he bounced out top seed and defending champion Fernando Verdasco 7-6(6), 7-6(5) Sunday at the SAP Open.
The 20-year-old, who was making just his eighth tour-level main draw appearance, earned $92,000 for winning the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament and has expected to move up to No. 59 among the ATP Rankings on Monday.
After Marin Cilic, Raonic is the youngest player to win the ATP title since 2008. Fernando Verdasco played with great talent but found was unable to use his experience as Raonic came through in every mind thrashing pressure packed situation. He staged a comeback in the first set by levelling scores after trailing at 2-6 in the tiebreaker.
Verdasco said, “I just made one mistake with my forehand at 6-5. All the other points he played aggressive. He played good and he put all the returns in and not much I can do in that moment.”
Raonic was quick to obtain the first mini break and stuck on to his service points to take the second set in a tiebreak too.
A delighted Raonic said, “When it gets close it sort of just comes down to who gets it that day. It comes down to a few points and I was there for it. I sort of used up my luck today, in a way. I got out of that first set and the second set I was a little bit more confident by then. It came out the way I wanted it to.”
Raonic did not drop a single set on his route to the final and defeated Verdasco in straight sets too. Raonic will be proud to be representing Canada as the last ATP Champion Canada had was Greg Rusedski back in 1995 when he won the title in Seoul. Raonic proudly quoted, “If I can keep playing like this, then sort of start a movement to have more televised matches tennis-wise, and help the sport grow. I think Canada does have that athleticism and the talent to have more players at the top.”
Raonic has made a considerable improvement in his rankings as he Jumped from being World No. 156 to World No. 84. He cracked into the top hundred after his debut fourth round result at the Australian Open this year which included a win over World No. 10 Mikhail Youzhny in the third round.
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