Raonic reaches quarter-finals in Stockholm

Thornhill's Milos Raonic has advanced to the quarter-finals of the Stockholm Open. Courtesy of Christopher Johnson. (milos)

After having hip surgery early in the summer, Milos Raonic is beginning to find his stroke again.

Raonic advanced to the quarter-finals of the Stockholm Open on Wednesday after defeating Philipp Petzschner in straight sets.

The 6-3, 6-3 victory over the German came only a day after his opening-round victory against 2009 champion Marcos Baghdatis on Tuesday.

It’s been a rocky road for the Thornhill, Ont., native since returning from his July 5th procedure, having lost a Davis Cup matchup and being ousted in the second round of two straight tournaments.

But the world’s 29th-ranked player is confident about his progress.

“I play my best when I focus on myself and try to dictate as much as possible,” Raonic told The Canadian Press. “I’m trying to find ways to win and get my game back after missing some weeks.”

“I’m working back slowly, working to get better and better. I’m playing well for being back such a short time.”

It took two-and-a-half hours for Raonic to take care of Baghdatis in the first round. The Canadian had 22 aces in the match, winning 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-4.

Then the 20-year-old rebounded and was able to cut down on his mistakes in his second-round meeting against Petzschner, winning in 74 minutes.

He took it to Petzschner early and often, drilling three aces in the opening set and earning his first break for a 3-1 advantage. He had a chance to finish the match in the eighth game but the German held before Raonic served out the set.

He continued to dominate Petzschner in the second set, breaking the 26-year-old in the seventh game to go up 4-3. Petzschner would fall two games later after sending a backhand into the net on Raonic’s first match-point opportunity.

It was a sweet victory for Raonic, who had lost to his German opponent in June. He finished with seven aces and 38 winners in the match.

Raonic has been mentally tested since returning from his injury but isn’t letting his mind dictate the outcome of his matches.

“Confidence is the biggest thing, and the competitive instinct,” Raonic said in a telephone interview with the Toronto Star from Stockholm. “You just really don’t doubt it when you get into tough situations in a match.

“I don’t think about the body at all. In tennis, a lot of it is anticipation, it’s taking a fraction of a second longer now but I’m really pleased with how it’s coming along.”

Raonic will continue his quest for the Swedish title on Friday when he squares off against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, marking the fifth time this season the Canadian has gotten to the round of eight in an ATP event.