Raonic credits Sampras in San Jose

Wed, 09 Feb 08:16:00 2011

A couple of tips from 14-times Grand Slam champion Pete Sampras helped Canada's new tennis hope Milos Raonic to a comprehensive victory over fourth seed Xavier Malisse at the San Jose Open.

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The 20-year-old Raonic burst on to the scene at last month's Australian Open where he reached the fourth round as a qualifier and he continued the momentum with a first round victory over Malisse after meeting Sampras on Monday.

"I got to meet Pete Sampras. It was really amazing," Raonic wrote in his blog on the tournament website.

"He gave me some well-thought out tips. For me, it was an unbelievable experience, especially when you're coming up and getting to the point where you meet your idols. It means a lot."

After becoming the first the first male qualifier to reach the last 16 at the Australian Open since 2005, Raonic did his best Sampras impersonation in San Jose by recording 20 aces against Malisse to set up a second-round match against American James Blake.

"It's nice playing these guys you used to watch. I think I'll have an advantage - I'll know him more than he'll know me," Raonic said.

Blake, who beat compatriot Jesse Levine in his opening match on Monday, is coming off knee and shoulder injuries and is playing in his first competitive tournament since October.

Elsewhere in San Jose, third-seeded Sam Querrey was upset by Slovakia's Lukas Lacko 7-6 6-3. It was the third straight loss of the year for Querrey who reached the semi-finals last year in San Jose.

In other matches, Lithuanian Richard Berankis beat sixth-seeded Benjamin Becker 6-3 7-6, Kei Nishikori beat Jan Hajek 6-1 7-6, Brian Dabul defeated Alejandro Falla 6-4 6-3 and former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro knocked off Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-3 6-2.

Reuters

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