McEnroe steers Raonic to 1st win

LONDON • Third seed Milos Raonic edged past Australia's Nick Kyrgios in a rain-delayed Aegon Championships first-round showdown at the Queen's Club on Wednesday, as new coach John McEnroe watched on.

The big-serving Canadian has hired the three-time Wimbledon champion to help during the grass- court season, and their partnership got off to a winning start as Raonic won 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4 to move into the second round.

Rain on Tuesday meant their match had been locked at one set apiece overnight. On resumption with the sun shining at the west London club, it was level until 4-4 when Kyrgios served two double-faults to hand Raonic a break.

Raonic then battled back from 15-40 down to hold on for the win that set up a clash with Czech Jiri Vesely.

"You can't miss him. He has been on the court the whole time. I wanted to hit with some (right-handed players), but he is always there!" he said, when asked how he was finding life with the forthright American.

"It's been a lot of fun. He's very competitive and it's obviously benefiting me as well."

Meanwhile, Juan Martin del Potro's decision to skip the French Open in favour of preparing for the grass-court season backfired, as the 1.98m-tall Argentinian was beaten 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 by American seventh seed John Isner.

The Spaniard returned to action in February after two years blighted by wrist problems, but was unable to outhit the 2.08m-tall Isner, in a match-up of two of the ATP Tour's tallest players.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 17, 2016, with the headline 'McEnroe steers Raonic to 1st win'. Print Edition | Subscribe