Raonic Wins First Round in French Open; Levine Out.

Al Dannity | Updated May 27, 2013

Canada’s Milos Raonic got off to the perfect start in Paris but Rafael Nadal had to fight back to survive his first round match. Al Dannity breaks down the early action from the French Open.

It’s been two up, one down for Canada’s entrants in the singles of the French Open so far. With Eugenie Bouchard about to take the court for her first round match with Tsvetsana Pironkova, there’s already been one Canadian ousted from the French Open. Jesse Levine, who made the second round is 2012, was totally outclassed as he suffered a straight sets shellacking at the hands of Kei Nishikori. The Japanese 13 seed dished out a 6-3 6-2 6-0 beat-down to the Ottawa native who was never in contention.

Milos Raonic however continues to fly the flag high by negotiating a potential first round banana skin. Xavier Malisse was a tough draw for the 14 seed. After sweeping through the opening two sets 6-2 6-1, the Thornhill player dropped the third 6-4. Undeterred, Raonic fought back to take the match 6-4 in the fourth. The draw doesn’t get much easier next for Raonic as he faces France’s Michael Llodra in the second round. That being said, Raonic is in by far the most open quadrant of the draw as he has avoided the top three seeds, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal. Not that everything is going to plan for all the big guns.

Nadal was rocked in his first round match with Daniel Brands. The German took the first set and looked in better form than Nadal entering a second set tie-break but the king of clay held his nerve to eventually triumph 4-6 7-6 6-4 6-3.

Canada’s third entrant in the men’s singles, Vasek Pospisil, gets his campaign under way tomorrow. Pospisil will take on Horacio Zeballos of Argentina, with the winner likely facing 9 seed Stan Wawrinka in the second round.

Bouchard is the only Canadian woman in the singles and she won’t have it easy against the unpredictable Pironkova. The Bulgarian has enjoyed deep runs at Wimbledon but her form can drop off the map for months at a time. With Bouchard fresh off a semi-final run at Strasbourg, the young Canadian will be confident of pulling an upset. Victory would potentially set up a glamour second round match with defending champion Maria Sharapova. The Russian is the 2 seed in the French Open and will prove a formidable opponent, assuming she negotiates her first round match with Su-Wei Hsieh.

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