Raonic through as Monfils crashes out in Washington

Milos Raonic won his opening match at the Washington Open on Wednesday, dispatching France’s Nicolas Mahut in two tiebreaks 7-6(2), 7-6(8).

After a break free first set, third seed Raonic raced away to claim the tie-break before saving two set points in the second to claim the win 10-8 on his fourth match point in just under two hours.

“There are a lot of things I need to be happy with,” said Raonic. “I lost a bit of sharpness and discipline in the second set, but I’m glad I was able to get through. It’s good to be back, especially with that memory of having won here [in 2014].”

Raonic faces Marcos Baghdatis in the third round after the Cypriot upset 16th seed Ryan Harrison, a losing finalist last week in Atlanta, 6-4, 6-1.

Defending champion Gael Monfils suffered a shock loss, going down in three sets to Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, who faces Italy’s Guido Pella in the third round.

“This is what every tennis player dreams of. This is where every tennis player wants to be,” Bhambri said. “It’s a huge confidence booster for me to know that I belong here. I can compete with the best.”

Meanwhile, Alexander Zverev capitalised on some late errors to see off Australia’s Jordan Thompson.

Thompson was leading 5-4 in the deciding tiebreak but netted a backhand and served up a double fault to give Zverev a chance he would not squander.

The 20-year old German was relieved.

“I’m just happy to get through that one. Seven to six in the third is always something very nice,” Zverev said. “You feel good about yourself. Hopefully I can do it better the next match.”

Fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov moved into the last 16 with a three sets win over Britain’s Kyle Edmund, while 20 year-old American Tommy Paul secured the biggest win of his career by beating seventh seed Lucas Pouille 7-6(6), 6-3.

Paul faces Wimbledon quarter-finalist Gilles Muller in the third round after the Luxembourg player brushed aside Russia’s Dimitry Tursunov 6-1, 6-2.

Other results:

(15) K Anderson (RSA) defeated M Jaziri (TUN) 6-4, 6-1
J Donaldson (USA) defeated M Polmans (AUS) 6-2, 6-3
T Sandgren (USA) defeated N Kyrgios (AUS) 6-3, 3-0 (Ret.)