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Canadians Raonic, Peliwo, Dancevic, Pospisil all advance to Rogers second round

08/06/2013 02:34 EDT | Updated 10/06/2013 05:12 EDT
MONTREAL - It was a record day for Canada at the men's draw of the Rogers Cup.

Milos Raonic, Filip Peliwo, Frank Dancevic and Vasek Pospisil all pulled off three-set victories Tuesday to advance to the second round of the Masters 1000 hardcourt tennis event.

With Jesse Levine's win on Monday, it put five Canadians into the second round — one more than made it that far in 1992.

"It's amazing," said Dancevic, a Niagara Falls, Ont., native who downed Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-1. "It's a Masters series event and pretty much everyone you play here is at a high level, ranked in the top-50, so to have four guys through the first round shows a lot about how far Canadian tennis has come along.

"It's really great to see and it's been showing up more and more in all the tournaments."

It was a first win in an ATP event this year for Dancevic, who has been doing well of late in lower-level tournaments.

In the feature evening match on centre court of the US$3.49-million tournament, the 13th-seeded Raonic, of Thornhill, Ont., used his booming serve to overcome an otherwise so-so outing to defeat France's Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in his first-round match.

Raonic said he felt no added pressure to keep the Canadian winning streak going.

"I'm very proud and happy for the guys that have been winning," he said. "But it doesn't affect myself personally.

"It's great to have this kind of good results, but I've got to take care of my business for myself."

The late match saw two-time defending Rogers Cup champion Novak Djokovic make short work of Florian Mayer with a 6-2, 6-1 win.

Vancouver's Peliwo, who became the first Canadian male to win a junior grand slam event at Wimbledon in 2012, staved off a match point with what he called a "lucky" shot at the net for a 3-6, 7-5, 3-1 win over 39th-ranked Jarkko Nieminen.

The Finnish left-hander was forced to retire in the third set with a hamstring injury.

Pospisil, of Vernon, B.C., upset one of the hottest players on the ATP Tour as he outlasted 20th-ranked American John Isner 5-7, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) before a roaring crowd on centre court.

"I'm feeling very good about my game lately," said Pospisil, who was coming off a victory last week in a Challenger series event in Vancouver. "From the baseline I wasn't feeling too comfortable because the conditions are extremely different from Vancouver.

"I felt a little bit of difficulty controlling the ball from the baseline.''

The only Canadian to fall thus far was Peter Polansky, also of Thornhill, who got to the main draw through the qualifying tournament but then lost to ninth-seeded Kei Nishikori on Monday.

The Canadian men had already reached a milestone this year when they defeated Italy to reach the Davis Cup semifinals for the first time.

And with Raonic ranked 13th and Pospisil recently risen to 71st, it is the first time Canada has had two players in the world's top 75 since Andrew Sznejder and Grant Connell in 1990.

"We have a lot of capable and good players that can play at a high level," said Pospisil, who beat a top-20 player for the first time. "It's just thrilling, really. There's so many of us right now in the second round."

While Canada may be on the rise, the United States has taken a mighty fall.

Isner's loss means that when next week's rankings come out, there will be no American in the top-20 for the first time in 40 years of ATP rankings. Isner reached the Rogers Cup semifinals last year and didn't defend those points.

At Wimbledon in June, for the first time in 101 years no American reached the third round.

Isner, who was coming off a win and a an appearance in a final in his last two tournaments, wasn't talkative after the match and said he just wanted to go home.

Peliwo looked ready for an early exit when he fell behind 3-0 in the second set and then was taken to match point with 32-year-old Niemenin leading 5-4. But he found a way out of that jam and went on to win the set and the match.

"Basically, I went to the net after a rally, hit a pretty lame volley, kind of popped it up," said the Peliwo 19-year-old said. "He hit a forehand, I kind of moved to the right expecting it down the line and I guess he changed his mind a bit and hit it right towards my direction.

"I just threw my hands up like that. Just reflex."

Peliwo is ranked 353rd in the world, but the victory over 39th-ranked Niemenin should put him into the top-300.

"It's definitely the best feeling I've had in a while," he said. "It's such a big win for me.

"Ranking-wise, I'll get a lot of points. Confidence, to be able to say I beat a top-40 player. I'm still trying to realize what I did."

Peliwo will face 66th-ranked Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan in the second round on Wednesday.

Levine, of Ottawa, will be in tough against fourth-seeded Rafael Nadal, the former world No. 1 and two-time Rogers Cup champion.

Raonic goes up against Mikhail Youzhny.

Dancevic takes on 15th-seeded Jerzy Janowicz, who beat Julien Benneteau 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Pospisil will face No. 51 Radek Stepanek, who upset 12th seeded Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3.

In other first-round matches, 13th-seeded Fabio Fognini downed Marcos Baghdatis 1-6, 6-1, 6-1, Nikolay Davidov ousted 14th-seeded Gilles Simon 2-6, 6-1, 6-1, Alex Bogolomov of Russia beat Michael Llodra of France 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 and Youzhny defeated Jurgen Melzer 6-4, 7-6 (3), and Alexander Dolgopolov beat Kevin Anderson 7-6 (4), 6-4.

In the second round, Nishikori downed Andreas Seppi 4-6, 7-5, 6-1

In doubles, Nadal and Pablo Andujar fought off two match points to beat fellow Spaniards David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez 6-7 (2), 6-4, 12-10.

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