U.S. Open: Eugenie Bouchard, Milos Raonic win in Round 2
Canadian tennis stars eke out victories in New York
Canadians Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard reached the third round of the U.S. Open on Thursday, earning tough night-time victories in swirling wind against dangerous opponents.
Fifth-seeded Raonic took revenge for a summer loss on grass in Halle, Germany as he defeated German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (3) in New York.
Wimbledon women's finalist Bouchard, from Westmount, Que., needed a lift in the third set to defeat Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4. Bouchard will face Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the third round.
The 20-year-old Bouchard won the first set and twice recovered from a break down in the second set as her fighting spirit at the big events came into evidence. But Cirstea, ranked 80th after standing 21st a year ago, took the match into a third set as midnight approached.
"I had to battle in the second set, her game was getting a lot more solid," said Bouchard. "I believed in myself. I told myself to keep fighting. I started taking the ball early and it paid off."
The seventh seed went up an early break in the final set but lost it, only to break the Romanian back for 4-3 on a double-fault.
Cirstea saved a match point in the ensuing game before Bouchard finally served out the winner after more than two hours a game later, firing off back-to-back service winners.
"It's so special to play my first match on Ashe stadium at night," said Bouchard . "I'm so excited to have a chance to play another match. I want to improve my tennis for that one."
World No. 6 Raonic ended with 26 aces as he heads into an upcoming match against 34-year-old tournament debutant Victor EstrellaBurgos after the player from the Domenican Republic defeated 17-year-old Croatian BornaCoric by a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 scoreline.
"It's about finding a way and getting through. That's what I was able to do," said Raonic. "I have one day now to get better and I know I'll play better my next match."
Raonic still feels he has improvements to make in his game.
"I wasn't focusing on the right things. I got a little bit caught up," he said. "I didn't focus on my stuff. I was getting a little too caught up in him rather than focusing on myself."
Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., improved his New York record to 8-3 as he plays for the fourth time in five years after missing 2011 after his hip surgery.
Conditions were difficult for both players in the wind, but Raonic said the weather "didn't really matter."
"You just have to deal with things as they come and find a way to win," he said. "It could have been perfectly calm today and been a different story."
Raonic took the 52-minute opening set in a tiebreaker as Gojowczyk landed a forehand long.
But the 124th-ranked German fought back to level by winning the second after losing a 3-1 lead but breaking in the final game. Raonic answered to take a two sets to one lead as he sent over his 16th ace on set point with the clocking running at almost 90 minutes on court.
Raonic needed to work to secure the win, finally going through after three hours with 46 winners and 47 unforced errors.
Wimbledon doubles champions Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver and Jack Sock of the United States both overcame injury to reach the second round with a 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Jarkko Nieminen and Henri Kontinen.