Pospisil and Raonic thrill crowds to open Rogers Cup
August 6, 2012 · Print This Article
Look out Milos Raonic, here comes Vasek Pospisil. With an upset win over Italy’s Andreas Seppi, Pospisil could also be making a play at another upset: becoming the new fan favourite at Toronto’s Rogers Cup. After taking six match points to get to the second round of the Masters 1000 event, Pospisil thrilled hometown fans with a win, rather than how he rose to attention during last year’s event, which came strangely – in defeat. Ideally, careers aren’t defined by memorable losses, but last year in Montreal when Pospisil was able to push his childhood idol, Roger Federer, to 5-7 in the first set, the Canadian made waves as a legitimate up and comer. Federer ultimately went through, but as far as losses go, being taken out by a legend in competitive fashion ain’t bad at all.
Fortunately for Pospisil, this year he’s grabbing the spotlight with a statement win, beating Seppi, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 in his opening round match for the hometown crowd. The 22-year-old Canadian, ranked 104th, rose above the gap between their rankings, as the world 26 Seppi, dropped his level under pressure from Pospisil’s powerful game and mental grit. Pospisil also credited the crowd to helping him push through, saying, “It’s my third top 30 win… to do it here in Toronto, for a hometown crowd… it’s pretty awesome.” Awesome for Pospisil, but a big loss for the Italian, who had been enjoying a solid season and was riding a touch of notoriety after forcing five sets in a first round match against Novak Djokovic at the 2012 French Open.
Pospisil’s win softened the blow for what was a tough loss earlier in the day for Canadians, as Thornhill’s Peter Polanksy somehow managed to lose a match that he kicked off with a first set 6-0 win. After a commanding start, Polansky lost the next two sets to Australia’s Matthew Ebden 4-6, 3-6. “You can call it a disaster, I guess,” Polanksy said after the match. “It wasn’t a very good performance… but you got to move on and hopefully learn from this.”
Around the courts, Milos Raonic continued to draw bigger crowds to his practice sessions than most of the tournament matches. The freshly christened “Milos Raonic Grandstand Court” accompanied by masses of fans that gather, gawk and grab autographs, the 21-year-old is facing a vibrating hype and hunger that is only increasing in intensity. The frenzy will reach new heights if seeds hold up and a third round match with Gold medalist Andy Murray comes to a head. It’ll be interesting to see how the lanky Lacoste-wearer adjusts to his star status. So far, it seems to suit him just fine. He hung around signing autographs and entertaining fans after some practice play with Serbian Janko Tipsarevic.
The final Canadian in the singles mix is wildcard Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls, currently ranked 123 after falling from his career-high of 65 in 2007. Hometown advantage will have to count for a lot to help the Davis Cup team member make waves beyond the opening round, where he’ll face a tough opponent in Mikhail Kukushkin.
Pospisil is also back in action Tuesday, playing Argentina’s Juan Monaco prior to Raonic’s opening match against Serbia’s number three player, Viktor Troicki.
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