Canada’s Milos Raonic Defeats Mackenzie McDonald at National Bank Open

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Milos Raonic of Canada kicks the ball at Mackenzie McDonald (not pictured) at Sobeys Stadium on August 10.John E. Sokolowski/Reuters

As he was eliminated in the last 16 at the National Bank Open on Thursday, Milos Raonic was not ready to confirm if this would be his final appearance at the tournament in his homeland.

“There’s still a long way to go,” said the 32-year-old Canadian tennis veteran from nearby Thornhill, Ont., at the Canadian ATP tournament that rotates annually between Toronto and Montreal. “I just have to look ahead and stay short.”

He enjoys a standing ovation from Toronto fans who wonder if they will see him there again. on thursday For the first time in the tournament, Raonic looked like a guy who had just returned to tennis after a two-year hiatus from injury.

After two victories this week in his first appearance since 2019 at the Canadian Pro, Raonic looked less sharp in a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Mackenzie McDonald.

Former World No. 3 Canadian which returned to the ATP Tour less than two months ago was putting together a feel-good week as he took down the tournament’s ninth-ranked Frances Tiefoe in a thrilling three sets. Then Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel in straight sets.

But Raonic was unable to find his two biggest weapons – serve or forehand – on Thursday. And his run ended up facing the 28-year-old American, ranked 59th in the world.

“I wish I did better on the court today,” Raonic said, “but you can’t ruin the next two years’ worth of reputation, can you? From the intensity of the play and all that stuff.”

Raonic is a wildcard entry in Toronto. He has not played in his homeland since 2018, enjoying a warm reception from the crowd. and finally got to play in front of his family again Not far from where he started playing sports at age 8, with his father Dusan feeding batting machines at the Blackmore Tennis Club in Richmond Hill.

Canadians are intrigued by the return of the 6-foot-5 former Wimbledon finalist, the man who paved the way for the current generation of Canadian players and has earned more than $20 million in prize money. He went further than any other Canadian man in this week’s Toronto singles draw. But Thursday was boring, close to a couple of exciting days.

Auger-Aliassime Canada is eliminated in the first round of the National Bank Open.

Raonic trained for 30 minutes in the sun on Center Court an hour before Thursday’s game. By the time the Canadians showed up again for the 12:30 race, the weather had changed. Gray clouds hovered over Sobeys Stadium, gusts of wind and a sneaky cold forcing spectators to don their sweatshirts.

Both players looked uncomfortable in the wind. Can’t serve well They only played for 20 minutes until the rain subsided. The match was suspended with McDonald taking a 3-2 lead in the first set.

They waited in the wings for an hour and a half before resuming play. sunset McDonald’s serves too. But Raonic no longer looked calm. Things were going well for McDonald who quickly grabbed the first batch.

Raonic hit 52 aces in his first two matches. But on Thursday afternoon His serve left him. Most of what came out of the Canadian racket hit the net. Although Raonic’s serve landed, McDonald’s counter-attack was on point, and he missed very little on his first serve.

Raonic managed nine aces. McDonald ran away and made it to the quarterfinals of the Masters 1000.

“It was a difficult game. I think it was just a small mistake,” says Raonic. “I think I missed three forehands in the first game. And then you start like that. He was relieved. And I didn’t have the necessary speed to serve.”

The opponent plays an important but indispensable role at the National Bank Open.

Raonic has now played seven matches – four victories – making his comeback after a long hiatus. This return covers the ATP 250 race in the Netherlands. Then it’s Wimbledon and Toronto. He hopes to play in the US Open.

“If everything is fine I can be in the right position,” said Raonic. “I can be ready. I can make high-level tennis.”

Raonic goes to Toronto ranked 545. This is his first consecutive tour-level win since reaching the fourth round of the 2021 ATP Masters 1000 in Miami. rose more than 200 points

“I think I can still play at a high level which is not much different from when I was,” he added. “I just have to give myself a chance and take it one at a time.”

Next up for McDonald was Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, who fought back from a third-set deficit to defeat third-seeded Casper Ruud of Norway 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(4).

Spain’s top seed Carlos Alcaraz is set to face Hubert. Poland’s 15th-ranked Hurkaz in the evening match.

Second seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over 16th seed Lorenzo Musetti of Italy.

In the doubles, Vasek Pospisil of Vernon, British Columbia, and Nicholas Mahut of France left the decision 6-2, 6-4 to sixth pair of German Kevin Kravia. Z and Tim Puez

Play will continue until Sunday at the $7.62 million tournament.

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