Miami Open 2018: Raonic breezes past Chardy, into quarterfinal

If Milos Raonic were feeling out Jeremy Chardy in the Miami Open 2018 of their match Tuesday afternoon, Raonic saw everything he needed to quickly devise a course of action for the rest of the way.

Raonic defeated Chardy (6-3, 6-4) to advance to the quarterfinal round of the Miami Open, doing so in convincing fashion, with Raonic continuing his ascent back up the ATP Miami Open 2018 ranking (he entered the match sitting at 27th).

After Chardy won the first game holding Raonic on love, the Canadian responded by winning the next three, including breaking Chardy on 1-1 to grab an early edge. Raonic also produced five aces in those first two games, over-powering Chardy and painting the service lines to keep him off balance.

After Raonic put a few shots long in that opening Miami Open 2018, which saw him fall behind for the first and only time in the match, he kept attacking that area of the court, playing many of his shots deep and pushing Chardy back before overpowering some of his returns, too much for the Frenchman.

Leading 5-3 in the first, Raonic produced another break to take the set after rallying down from love-30, winning the next four points. In a 34-minute set where everything seemed to bounce Raonic’s way (including three challenges, two from Raonic and one from Chardy all falling in the Canadian’s favor) the set-point winner came on a miss-hit shot that grazed the tape before plummeting to the court, leaving Raonic to put his hand up during the changeover.

Raonic nearly got a break early in the second set, which would have seen him take a 3-1 advantage before going back on serve. In a game played to deuce, Raonic and Chardy played a long back-and-forth rally that ended with Raonic putting a backhand into the net and Chardy squeezed by.

Chardy himself almost produced his first break midway through the second set with the score knotted 3-3. He forced the game to break, but Raonic was dominant from there, a couple of clean backhand shots right at the net, coupled with an ace, of which he had three that game, managing to hold and keep a 4-3 lead.

Raonic nearly broke again when leading the match 4-3, and Chardy actually had to save a break point and needed to deuces before finally putting away Raonic to tie the set in game that took over six minutes to finish.

There were no signs of fatigue or that had lost momentum when Raonic went back to serve though, again strong in that area of his game, using two aces to take a 5-4 lead. (Raonic won 85-percent of his first-serve points). Not only did Raonic not drop a game on serve during the match, he still has yet to in his three tournament games.

With a chance to win another set and the match on a break, Raonic did just that, taking advantage of a few Chardy errors to go up love-40. Though Chardy saved two match points, Raonic was able to keep in a rally on the third, playing some backhands over the net from a tough angle before a Chardy smash missed wide to see Raonic secure the victory.

Raonic was able to sequence his shots all match to keepe his challenger a step behind, keeping Chardy and his heels on receive and also charging the net when possible to put Chardy away. He led in net points, 13-3.

Raonic will get a rematch with Juan Martin del Potro, who also won on Tuesday, and whom Raonic was defeated by in the semifinal of Indian Wells, Raonic’s most recent tournament.

Fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov is also in action later on Tuesday with a chance to advance to the quarters on the other side of the bracket. The teenager will face Borna Coric.

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