Canadian qualifier Canadian Milos Raonic hammered 23 aces in his first ATP victory on Tuesday as the teenager beat Russian Igor Kunitsyn 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 at the Malaysian Open.
Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis lived up to his sixth seeding in imposing style, crushing Japan’s outgunned Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1 in just 53 minutes to next play Colombian Santiago Giraldo.
“It was a great match, I played some played good tennis,” said the winner. “I’m happy I won. He’s a talented opponent. But I played well and didn’t give him any chances.” Baghdatis now stands 18th this season after starting out on 42nd.
He gained traction at the end of 2009, winning the Stockholm title and beginning 2010 with a trophy in Brisbane.
But he will be aiming to recover after losing in the US Open first round.
Montenegran-born 19-year-old Raonic set up a second round encounter with Ukrainian seventh seed Sergiy Stakhovsky by his breakthrough win.
The success in just under 90 minutes was a milestone for the youngster, who had lost in three previous ATP senior-level outings, including the US Open.
“It feels very good, I played my best tennis in a while today,” said the number 237. “I feel I play well indoors.
“This victory is a weight off my shoulders; it’s great to get this win.” Elsewhere in the opening round at the Putra stadium, Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine defeated French qualifier Laurent Recouderc 6-3, 6-1. Russia’s Igor Andreev, another qualifier who once played in the top 20, stopped Go Soeda of Japan 6-1, 6-4.
Keywords: Malaysian Open