Simone Bolelli registers first win against top 10 opponent in Marseille
Simone Bolelli recorded the biggest win of his career on Thursday at the Open 13 in Marseille. Top-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic was eliminated from the tournament, after a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3) second-round loss to Italy’s Simone Bolelli.
Bolelli broke the longest losing streak against top 10 opponents in the Open Era with a victory over Milos Raonic, who is currently ranked sixth in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Bolelli, who advanced to the Apia International Sydney last eight (l. to Troicki) last month, is now 1-35 lifetime against top ten opponents. He will face seventh seed Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals on Friday.
The second longest losing streak versus Top 10 opponents (since 1968) was 26 losses in a row, a mark shared by Nicolas Almagro and Andreas Seppi. Almagro broke his run against John Isner in the 2012 Davis Cup and Seppi did so with a victory over Roger Federer at the 2015 Australian Open.
It was Raonic's first opening round exit, since October 2014 at the Kremlin Cup by Bank of Moscow (l. to Berankis) and he is now 10-4 on the season.
Raonic, who had a bye in the first round, went in to the match having beaten the Italian in their previous two meetings. The hard-serving Canadian fired 21 aces to Bolelli’s seven but only managed to convert one of eight break point opportunities.
Bolelli has been on the comeback trial, since finishing 2013 at 244 in the world. He has always threatened to pick up a big win and when on, his flamboyant game is capable of causing major upsets.
Roger Federer recently survived a scare against Bolelli, when the Italian won the first set in the second round of the 2015 Australian Open. But, Bolelli eventually ended up losing that match against the Swiss maestro.
Story of the Match
The story of the opening set was a poor first serve percentage from Raonic, whilst he was typically dominant on his first serve, the Canadian only landed 50% of his serves. Bolelli seized upon his opportunity, winning more than half of the points when returning a second serve.
Raonic was able to find a better rhythm in the second set and this seemed to uncover a gap in quality between the two men. When he competed the second set to level matters, not many will have given Bolelli much of a chance at sticking with the Canadian rising star.
Bolelli fought admirably in the decider, with only one break point between them in the third set squandered by Raonic. An almost inevitable tie-break would decide the match and Bolelli stormed into a lead and subsequently finishing the job, condemning Raonic to an early defeat.