Both Juan Martin del Potro (Player Profile) and Milos Raonic (Player Profile) were participating in their second Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships title clash, the top seed Argentine lost to Berdych in 2008, whilst his today’s rival fell to Nishikori one year ago. In the end, Delpo claimed his third title of the season by winning 7-6 (5), 7-5, thus avenging the Canadian Masters defeat that happened earlier this year.
Third-seeded Raonic’s serving was spotless throughout the opening set, whilst the Argentine needed to resist three break points in the seventh game to eventually force a tie-break. In the thirteenth game the Canadian number one conceded his single double fault of the match at 5-4* to gift Del Potro a double set point. He averted the first one, but could not parry the following serve as his rival aced him to grab the opener. The second set followed a similar pattern as it went with serve until 5-5 when Raonic suddenly faced a triple break point – he fended off the first two before the World no. 7 Argentine executed a clinical volley at the end of a net attack to acquire a crucial advantage. He capitalized on the second championship point to lift his debut Tokyo trophy at the Ariake Coliseum and the sixteenth one in total. Raonic scored 17 aces to Delpo’s 7, yet it was not enough to prevail in a closely-fought match in which total points were split 50/50 after one hour and forty-eight minutes of outdoor hard court tennis.
“I played really well in the last two games of the match, returning all of his first serves,” del Potro explained after the victory. “It was a fantastic week for me as I played better and better with each match.”
“There is not really much to be down about,” said Raonic. “I created opportunities and barring a double fault and a few points I could not have done much better. I think I am doing a lot of things better week in week out, I can play a good level, but I just need to improve on a consistent basis. There is work to be done.”
The Canadian is in the 10th position in the race to the ATP World Tour Finals in London, whilst del Potro is placed fifth at the moment.