Though Milos Raonic’s most successful week of tennis came to a close with a loss on Friday, plenty of positives have abounded in the teenager’s recent play.
Raonic’s run at the Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur ended when Igor Andreev defeated him in the quarterfinals 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
Against Andreev, Raonic struggled with his strongest weapon. The six-foot-four Canadian normally wins a lot of points with his big serve, but his opponent was able to break him multiple times.
The 19-year-old has been playing with a high level of consistency and maturity though, and despite the loss, can look back on his week in Kuala Lumpur with satisfaction.
First, he won two qualifying matches to make it into the main draw.
His opening round victory over Igor Kunitsyn marked a first career win at an ATP Tour tournament.
In the second round he defeated world No. 31 Sergiy Stakhovsky, who has been enjoying his best year yet. The Ukrainian player won an ATP tournament in New Haven in August and has solidified his place in the top-50.
While Raonic eventually lost to No. 18-ranked Andreev, it came against a player who at one point in 2008 was 18th in the world.
“It’s still been a good week, good motivation,” Raonic told the Canadian Press. “I can see my work is paying off. This is where I want to be, just keeping on working and plugging away.”
The Thornhill native entered the tournament ranked No. 237 in the world, and will be rewarded for his play with a spot in the top 200 for the first time in his career.
His finish also marked his biggest payday yet, earning a $25,000 cheque.
It has been a good couple of months overall for Raonic, who qualified for his first Grand Slam main draw at the U.S. Open. He fell in the first round.
He also made waves at the Rogers Cup in Toronto when he and doubles partner Vasek Pospisil took out the formidable team of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the first round.
And on Sept. 17, he won his first singles Davis Cup match for Canada in a tough three-hour match. It was his first ever five-set victory.
Since turning pro in 2008, Raonic has been steadily working his way up the rankings and he hopes to continue doing so.
“My (ultimate goal is) in the top 10, but a career spent in the top 50 I would be happy with,” he told the Canadian Press during Davis Cup.
“You can do a lot, not just for yourself and for your own wealth and fortune, but you can do a lot for the country and it’s something Canada could really benefit from right now and I would like to be a big ambassador to helping out with that.”
Raonic will look to continue his recent success in Tokyo. He will spend the weekend attempting to qualify for next week’s Japan Open, a 500 level ATP event.