Raonic withdraws, leaving open field for Cilic in Tokyo

AFP, TOKYO

Fri, Oct 06, 2017 - Page 16

Canadian Milos Raonic’s injury woes yesterday continued as he was forced to retire from his second-round match against local favorite Yuichi Sugita at the Rakuten Japan Open.

The former world No. 3, playing his first tournament since undergoing wrist surgery, lasted just eight minutes of his clash with Sugita.

Raonic had looked sharp in battering battered Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday.

However, the third seed was forced to call for the trainer during the first game, clutching his right calf.

He eventually threw in the towel, wincing with discomfort and limping off the court.

Raonic’s misfortune is Marin Cilic’s gain, as the Canadian’s retirement opens up the draw for the big-serving Croatian, with no seed left in his half.

The highest-ranked player in the bottom half of the draw is Belgium’s David Goffin, who ended a wretched run of six defeats in his previous six finals by capturing the Shenzhen Open earlier this month.

Goffin, instrumental in Belgium’s run to next month’s Davis Cup final, had a scare against Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden, losing the first set before coming through 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/1).

The Belgian is to meet Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the quarter-finals after he eased through his encounter with Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun 6-0, 7-6 (7/5).

Gasquet inflicted the dreaded “bagel” in the first set against his 63rd-ranked opponent.

The second set was much tighter, but Gasquet clinched the tiebreak 7-5 to book his place in the last eight after 1 hour, 28 minutes.

The 31-year-old has struggled with injuries, but a recent return to the second-tier Challenger circuit appears to have boosted his confidence.

Meanwhile, American Steve Johnson followed up his surprise win over Austrian wunderkind Dominic Thiem with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Ukraine’s Aleksandr Dolgopolov.

He is next to face eighth seed Diego Schwartzman after the Argentine disposed of Australia’s Bernard Tomic.