New, improved Raonic lifted by Federer win

MELBOURNE – Milos Raonic said an uplifting win over Roger Federer along with all-round improvements under new coach Carlos Moya has put him in line for a good run at the Australian Open.

The power-serving Canadian, who conquered Grand Slam record-holder Federer in the final of this month’s Brisbane International, swept to a convincing 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win over Frenchman Lucas Pouille to reach the second round on Tuesday.

The 13th seed only spent 86 minutes on court and said he was more than just a serve-volleyer following the hiring of former French Open champion Moya as his coach.

Raonic also said his timely second career win over the Swiss legend had boosted his confidence before Melbourne.

”It was a good way to solidify myself and the people around me we’re on the right track and doing the right work,” said the Canadian.

”I think I’m playing well. I’m finally healthy, finally allowing my tennis that I have been able to put some time into to speak for itself,” Raonic said.

”I’m adding a few things. I’m more efficient at the net. I find my way forward and I cover the net better.

”I’m able to make my opponents think a bit more and be a little bit more calm in situations of pressure, believing that I can take and I can use different things to get ahead.”

Raonic said former world number one Moya could help further broaden his game after reaching a career-high fourth ranking in May last year.

”I think he can help me in being more efficient with my game, using my game better, especially throughout certain situations,” Raonic said.

”I think he can also give me a lot of insight, on and off the court, especially around two-week tournaments, how I can be more efficient.

”I have an inability after matches are over to sort of switch off and relax completely. I think he can bring that calm to me.

”With the vast knowledge that he has, and he has great sort of sense of how to approach, how to talk to people, I think he can help me in those kind of different situations.”

Pouille had no answer to Raonic’s superior weaponry as the Canadian broke his serve four times with the Frenchman failing to get one break point on his opponent’s formidable serve.

Raonic thundered down 12 aces with a fastest serve clocked at 234 kph (145 mph) and an average of 196 kph (122 mph) throughout the contest.

The Canadian reached the quarter-finals of last year’s Australian Open as the eighth seed before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.

He will next play either Tunisian Malek Jaziri or Spaniard Tommy Robredo. (AFP)