Tokyo (AFP) - Canadian Milos Raonic looked sharp on his return from wrist surgery on Tuesday as he battered Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the Japan Open.
The third seed, who was forced to sit out the US Open due to a persistent problem with his left wrist, displayed very few signs of rust after a seven-week absence, taking just 71 minutes to blast his way into the last 16.
A right-hander with a double-fisted backhand, Raonic tore through the opening set in the bright Tokyo sunshine and secured the key break early in the second with a cleverly disguised drop shot.
Troicki fought gamely but when a Raonic volley clipped the net and trickled over, the Serb slammed his racquet to the ground in disgust and bellowed furiously at the Japanese crowd.
Raonic, a former world No. 3 and winner of eight ATP Tour singles titles, rifled 16 aces to pile the misery on Troicki, completing victory with a kicking serve that his opponent could only waft into the net.
Currently ranked 12th in the world, Raonic finished runner-up at the Japan Open three years from 2012-2014, twice to local favourite Kei Nishikori.
The former 2016 Wimbledon finalist faces either 2015 Tokyo runner-up Benoit Paire of France or Japan's Yuichi Sugita.
Elsewhere, Frenchman Richard Gasquet, another former 2007 Japan Open finalist, upset American sixth seed Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-6 after clinically winning the second-set breaker 7-2.
Croatian Marin Cilic heads the Tokyo field this year at a tournament whose list of former champions includes tennis greats Ken Rosewall, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal.