Milos Raonic and Nick Kyrgios will square off in round two of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia after both came through their first round matches on Monday.
Tenth seed Raonic was given a stern test by local favourite Marco Cecchinato, and needed to save nine of 11 break points before grinding out a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory in just over two hours.
It’s the second meeting between the two players in a month, after Roanic also defeated the Italian at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
“I thought he played better today [than in Monte-Carlo],” said Raonic. “The conditions were a little bit difficult. I should have been a little bit more disciplined with myself in certain scenarios, but I’m happy to win and give myself an opportunity to play better in my next round.”
Roanic’s job doesn’t get any easier in round two, where he will face rising star Nick Kyrgios, after the Australian brushed aside wild card Salvatore Caruso 6-1, 6-2.
“I’m confident going forward, but at the same time Raonic’s got one of the best serves in the world,” said Kyrgios. “If he’s having a lights-out day when he does everything, you can’t really do too much. I’m going to go out there and do what I have been doing and just compete. If I happen to win, I win.”
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Raonic said of Kyrgios: “He has a lot of firepower. He can do a lot of different things. It’s about sort of getting ahead in the points before he does, because that’s where I’d say both of our games excel at is that aggressive tennis. It’s about who can take control of the points first.”
In other first-round results, 11th seed Richard Gasquet was a 6-3, 6-0 winner over Julien Benneteau, and moves on to face Andreas Seppi, who beat Vasek Pospisil 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-2).
There was an early withdrawal as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was forced to pull out with an adductor injury.
“I just stretched my adductor this morning,” he said. “I was sick when I left Madrid for two days, and I came here and I tried to play a little bit to see how it goes, and this morning I just stretched a little bit my adductor. So I will take rest and recover for the next step. I hope it’s going to be all right.”
Others to reach the second round of the draw on Monday included Domonic Thiem, Joao Sousa, Thomaz Bellucci and Alexander Zverev.
Zverev defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-1, 6-4, while Bellucci knocked out Gael Monfils 6-3, 7-6 (7-2).