ROTTERDAM: Mllos Raonic and Denis Shapovalov scored a first-round double for Canada on Tuesday with both powering ahead in straight sets at the Rotterdam Open.
Raonic, the fourth seed who reached the quarter-finals here in 2015, fought past German Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 (10/8), 7-5 on the back of 21 aces.
Shapovalov, seeded 10th, defeated Croatian Franko Skugor 7-5, 6-3.
Raonic had to work to get past a 2016 semi-finalist at the Ahoy stadium. The Canadian set up a second-round meeting with Stan Wawrinka, whom he beat in an Australian Open marathon last month.
“It will be a tough match, especially after we went four tiebreakers over four hours in Melbourne,” Raonic said. “It will be important for me to be disciplined and continue to play well.
“I might need to change a few things from the last match. Hopefully I can execute well.”
Raonic has beaten Wawrinka – a former Rotterdam winner – in their last four meetings; the Swiss is putting the final polish on his game as he completes a return from two knee operations in August, 2017.
The Canadian rained down 21 aces as he beat Kohlschreiber, finishing with an untouchable serve on match point in a match where the opening set lasted for 55 minutes.
“I got a little bit fortunate to get through the first set,” the Canadian said. “He had a break point, but I played it very well.
“I took my opportunities and kept trying to create pressure – it paid off in the end.”
Shapovalov dominated Croatian qualifier Skugor in their first-time meeting as both made Rotterdam debuts.
Elsewhere, Ernests Gulbis beat Marius Copil 6-2, 6-4 in a battle between qualifying lucky losers.