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Raonic Makes Winning Return to Indian Wells – Tennis Canada

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It had been five years since Milos Raonic stepped foot on court in Indian Wells when the Canadian contested his opening-round match at the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday night. 

But it was like he never left. 

The 2016 runner-up defeated lucky loser Sumit Nagal in straight sets to advance to round two of the first Masters 1000 event of the year. Raonic did not drop serve in the 6-3, 6-3 win that was delayed after the first set due to rain. 

Originally, Raonic was supposed to play three-time Indian Wells champion Rafael Nadal in the first round, but the Spaniard was forced to withdraw. 

Facing Nagal instead, the Canadian hit nine aces, won 76 per cent of his first serve points, and saved the only two break points he faced. Raonic also blew his opponent away on the ground, hitting 23 winners to his opponent’s two. 

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The first game was tense, with Raonic needing to battle through multiple deuces and even staring down a break point, which he saved with a big serve. But the Canadian held on and then went to work on return. 

In Nagal’s first service game, Raonic took a 15-40 lead but could not convert. Two games later, he had the same opportunity and this time used some impressive defence to coax an error out of the Indian to move ahead 3-1. While he missed a couple of chances to make it a double-break later in the set, Raonic never gave Nagal a chance to get back in the set. 

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Rain sent the players back to the locker room after the Canadian claimed the opening set and kept them there for over two and a half hours. Play resumed after 12:30 am. 

Once again, Raonic saved a break point in his first service game of the set and then quickly turned the tables. This time, he broke in the very next game, again drawing a forehand error from Nagal. 

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The second set followed a very similar script as the first. Once Raonic was ahead, he never gave his opponent a break point to get back in the set. This time, despite missing five break point chances in the fifth game, he did manage to score a second break as Nagal served to stay in the match, drawing yet another forehand error on match point. 

Raonic has reached the quarter-finals or better in his last five visits to Tennis Paradise and the semifinals or better in his last four, although his last appearance was in 2019. 

Next up for the Canadian will be a first meeting with young star Holger Rune, the seventh seed. 

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