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Canadians Raonic, Auger-Aliassime bounced in U.S. Open openers

Milos Raonic Milos Raonic - The Canadian Press

NEW YORK — Milos Raonic had some flashes of brilliance at the U.S. Open on Monday, but not enough of them to upset seventh-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.

The 32-year-old Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., was bounced 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 by Tsitsipas in the opening round of men's singles action. The match took one hour, 56 minutes to complete.

Raonic had eight aces and 32 winners, but he also had 48 unforced errors and eight double faults. He only won one of three break points.

Tsitsipas had seven aces, 24 winners and 10 unforced errors.

"I was serving pretty poorly and that kind of takes the pressure off the opponent and gives them a little bit of freedom to try out a few different things," Raonic told TSN's Mark Roe after the match. "I haven't had a chance to look at my numbers yet, but just from a sense of feel I thought I was pretty poor."

Raonic said he's happy, motivated and enjoying playing, but wasn't sure about what his playing future looks like. He said he'll continue to train and push forward and "see what happens."

Meanwhile, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal played for more than three hours but lost his opening-round match to American Mackenzie McDonald 6-7 (5), 6-4, 1-6, 4-6. The match took three hours, 27 minutes to complete.

Auger-Aliassime, who only recently started to feel stronger after a rash of injuries undermined his season, was unfortunate not to win the first set. In the third set his team opted for match management after he fell behind, but the decision didn't work out as Mackenzie eliminated the Canadian in the fourth set.

Auger-Aliassime finished with 13 aces, 11 double faults 39 winners and 52 unforced errors.

"The level (of play) was actually decent for me. It's been a couple of months where I felt good on the court like I did today, it's just unfortunate I couldn't capitalize on the chances and couldn't get the win," Auger-Aliassime told Roe.

"But there were two good sets, one that didn't go my way and one that went my way and honestly he played good in the third and credit to him.

" … I had chances to break and come back (in the fourth set) and I'm not able to play well when I need to … Because I have ambitions, this is a tough pill to swallow right now."

On Tuesday, Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., will start her U.S. Open singles journey against 22nd-ranked Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia, while Rebecca Marino of Vancouver will play Patricia Tig of Romania.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 28, 2023.