World No. 3, Milos Raonic opened his campaign in the perfect way in Melbourne, beating the charismatic Dustin Brown in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the second round.
Not many players on the tour can match Raonic for height, but Jamaican-German Brown is one of them.
Standing at 6-foot-5 with unmistakable dreadlocks that reach down to his waist, Brown is best known for his highlight-reel shots and creative style of play.
But these flashy touches only appeared sporadically during the first-round match and this is a great credit to Raonic who played a consistent game, limiting his errors and maximizing his opponent’s chance to hit it out.
The first set was an even affair after the first 20 minutes and it was tied at 3-3 before Raonic took control. The top-seeded Canadian was able to hold serve to make it 4-3, before breaking Brown and going on to claim the set 6-3, in just over half an hour.
The second and third sets followed in a similar style as Brown was able to compete with Raonic and keep up for the first few games, before the 26-year old took a stranglehold, winning the next two sets 6-4 and 6-2
Raonic recorded 18 aces in the match compared to Brown’s three and the Canadian more than doubled his opponents’ total winners with 46 compared to 20.
The match lasted an hour and 32 minutes, just what Raonic would have wished for as he looks to run deep in the tournament and possibly improve on his semifinal loss from last year.
Raonic takes on the winner of Gilles Muller from Luxembourg and American Taylor Fritz in second-round action later this week.