Raonic overpowers favoured Lu at SA Open
Canadian up-and-comer Milos Raonic continued his winning ways at the SA Tennis Open in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., who got into the tournament through qualifying, defeated second-seeded Yen-hsun Lu of Taiwan 6-3, 6-3.
Raonic was one of the surprises of the Australian Open after making it to the fourth round before losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 to seventh-seeded David Ferrer of Spain.
The hard-serving Canadian's success in Melbourne helped him rocket 58 places to No. 94 in the ATP rankings.
He said his run in Melbourne helped him overcome a player ranked 57 places higher than him in South Africa.
"I feel like it's not really far-fetched for me to be winning these type of matches against these ranked players," he said.
Raonic hit 14 aces and converted three break points Tuesday.
"I served well, took quick care of the things I needed to take care of and, since I was holding quite easy, I was putting a bit more pressure on his service games," said Raonic, who added that playing in high altitude was difficult.
"Here the conditions are tough," he said. "It's tough to swing freely."
Lu conceded "I had a tough opponent in the first round today."
Meanwhile, home favourite Kevin Anderson rallied for a three-set win over Stephane Bohli before rain ended play.
Anderson, seeded fourth, dropped the first set to his unseeded Swiss opponent before fighting back for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 win in a two-hour five-minute match which was interrupted by a lengthy rain break.
The South African saved six of seven break points to avoid the fate of second-seeded Lu and fifth-seeded Florent Serra, who was also eliminated.
Anderson recovered from his shaky start to wrap up victory shortly before a second rain shower forced the tournament referee to call off play, delaying top-seeded Feliciano Lopez's first round match until Wednesday.
Lopez, ranked No. 33 and now the only Top 50 player left in the event, will open his title defence against Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls, Ont.
Unseeded Dustin Brown of Germany then defeated Serra 6-4, 6-4 in 54 minutes, hitting 15 aces, before eighth-seeded Michal Przysiezny of Poland restored order to drop just three games in his 6-1, 6-2 first-round win over Martin Fischer of Austria.
France's Adrian Mannarino, seeded sixth, needed two tie-breaks to shrug off the challenge of Kazakhstan's Yuri Schukin in a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6) victory.
Germany's Denis Gremelmayr and South Africa's Izak van der Merwe also reached the second round with straight sets wins on Tuesday. Gremelmayr beat South African qualifier Nikala Scholtz 6-4, 7-5 and wild card entrant Van der Merwe cruised past Stephane Robert of France 6-3, 6-2.