Sunday, February 17, 2013

Raonic makes history in last SAP Open

   Nobody's perfect.
   Except Milos Raonic in the SAP Open.
   The top seed remained undefeated in San Jose, coasting past fourth-seeded Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-3 in 1 hour, 15 minutes Sunday at HP Pavilion for his third straight title in the tournament. Raonic, 22, made his SAP Open debut in 2011.
   A 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) Canadian with a punishing serve and forehand, Raonic has never lost a set in 13 SAP Open matches. And it appears he never will. The tournament will move next year to Memphis, which lost its event to Rio de Janeiro, after 125 years in Northern California.
   Raonic -- whose only other ATP World tour title came in Chennai, India, last year -- became the first man to win three consecutive San Francisco Bay Area titles since Tony Trabert from 1953 to 1955.
   “It’s pretty awesome. It’s pretty special,” Raonic told reporters. “It’s more than just the trophies that I have. It’s the little things that come with it. There was always the maple syrup story. The San Jose Sharks jersey. It all means a lot. With this event, that has had so many great champions, it’s pretty special. To sort of one-up it and three-peat is pretty awesome.”
   John McEnroe (1978-79), Pete Sampras (1996-97), Andy Roddick (2004-05) and Andy Murray (2006-07) are among those who have won two in a row. Andre Agassi tied McEnroe's modern record of five Bay Area crowns, but none came consecutively.
   Bill Rapp, then the SAP Open tournament director, presented Raonic with a bottle of maple syrup and a Sharks jersey after the player's first San Jose title.
   Raonic, the youngest player in the top 20 at No. 13, blasted 19 aces, won 29 of his 32 first-serve points and did not face a break point in his first meeting with Haas, 34, of Germany.
   Haas, ranked No. 22, reached No. 2 in the world in 2002. He was seeking his 14th ATP title and playing in his first San Jose final in his eighth appearance.
   In doubles, Xavier Malisse built a nice little streak of his own. The 32-year-old Belgian became the first man in 36 years to win two straight doubles titles in the Bay Area.
   The fourth-seeded team of Malisse and Germany's Moser edged Australian wild cards Lleyton Hewitt and Marinko Matosevic 6-0, 6-7 (5), 10-4 tiebreak in Sunday's final. All but Matosevic are 31 or older. Moser is 36, Hewitt 31 and Matosevic 27.
   Dick Stockton won in 1976 with Roscoe Tanner, a former All-American at nearby Stanford, and in 1977 with Marty Riessen. The tournament was held in Daly City, just south of San Francisco, at the time.
   Malisse and Moser opposed each other in last year's SAP Open doubles final. Malisse played with Mark Knowles, who retired one week before his 41st birthday last year. Moser paired with South African Kevin Anderson, who did not return.
   Malisse has won nine career ATP doubles titles, including the 2004 French Open with countryman Olivier Rochus.

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