He tends to not show much emotion on the court. At the end of this match, though, Milos Raonic let out a yell then pointed to the box where coaches and family members sit. The hard-serving Canadian had just made history by being the first player in more than 50 years to win the SAP Open three consecutive years. Raonic equals Tony Trabert, who dominated the event from 1953-55.
It is also historic because it will be the last time anyone would be crowned an ATP champion in San Jose. The tournament, in existence since 1889, will move to Memphis in 2014: the owners of both events sold the Tennessee tour stop to a Brazilian consortium, and it will not be replaced on the ATP Tour schedule.
Three of his four career victories have happened in San Jose, so it’s obvious what Raonic would think of the change. “I’m really sad to see this go,” he said in an interview. “It was sort of a go-to move for me in my schedule, one part of the year that was never discussed, ‘Let’s go back there.’ It’s unfortunate really to not have that chance.”
Neither Raonic nor his opponent, Germany’s Tommy Haas, lost a set on their way to the final. Once there, it didn’t take long for the Canadian to establish his dominance over his German rival as Raonic broke Haas once in the first set and twice in the second as he captured the title by scores of 6-4 and 6-3. In the past three years here, the 13th-ranked Raonic has never lost a set and faced only three break points (saving two of those). Opponents have managed to break his serve only twice in 124 games.
“If he plays like that consistently, on this type of surface, in this arena, take anybody at the top of the world and I would say he’s got a shot at beating them,” Haas said in a post-match interview. “He played extremely well. He placement on the serve was extremely good. His speed and power at times … especially on that surface, where it kind of skids and goes through, it’s really tough to try to control and get it back.
“I didn’t play a bad match, I just came up against a guy who played some unbelievable tennis.”
“Today, I’m more of a complete player,” Raonic said. “I was able to put pressure on him in most of his service games. I was able to hold quite handily, which I’ve shown I can do in the past. I was able to create pressure every game.”
Now Raonic’s task is to play as brilliantly in some of the other events on the ATP Tour and especially in the major tournaments, where he’s never gone past the fourth round.