Raonic defeated Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 7-6 (7-2), 6-2, 6-3 to reach the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday.
The Thornhill, Ont., native said that he felt improvement after struggling through a hard-fought opening win Tuesday against Jan Hajek.
“I was able to incorporate more intensity into may game, get into better positions and hit better shots,” said Raonic. “I created more opportunities. My game is getting better, I played much better than in the first round.”
The 13th seed now stands one victory away from duplicating his best showings at a grand slam after playing four rounds at the U.S. Open last autumn and in Melbourne in 2011.
Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., will face off against 17th-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday after the German advanced over Israeli Amir Weintraub 6
In another second round match, Ottawa's Jesse Levine fought for nearly three hours before falling to 14th seed Gilles Simon of France 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.
Levine fired seven aces but also committed 33 unforced errors.
”I didn't play a bad match, I got off to a good start," said Levine.
"But in the end he won, he just has more big-match experience than I do."
Raonic fired 18 aces against Rosol to win in just over one hour 45 minutes.
He clinched the victory just in time before temperatures rose to the day’s high of 39 Celsius, the hottest day of the event so far. Raonic, who trains in Barcelona, said he was not overly concerned about conditions.
“It was a little tough, you found yourself getting light-headed,” he said. “Other than that it didn’t seem that hot. The sun was covered by clouds most of the time. But the air was thick, it was hard to catch your breath.”
Raonic, ranked 15th in the world, had never faced Rosol before. The Czech is known for knocking Rafael Nadal out of the Wimbledon second round last June in the upset of the season.
“(Rosol) was good when he guessed right on my serve, but when I kept him guessing, he couldn’t hurt me on serve,” said the 22-year-old. “When he broke me in the second set it was because I was serving too often to the same spot.”
Raonic converted on five of his eight break chances in the rout on an outside court. He broke three times in the second set and was equally untroubled as he rolled to the win.Suggest a correction