New Delhi: After Novak Djokovic's impressive start to the 2016 tennis season with Qatar Open title yesterday, many expected Roger Federer to follow the suit in Brisbane and get to a perfect start to the new year. But unluckily for the Swiss maestro, Milos Raonic proved too hot to handle, losing 6-4 6-4 on Sunday.
In a repeat of last year's final at the Queensland Tennis Centre, Federer and the Canadian once again promised a thrilling clash. But the tall, 25-year-old Monaco-resident produced an inspired performance to subdue an otherwise off-colour Federer in front of a packed-crowd. Raonic's victory also meant that he had completed the avenge over his more illustrious rival for last year's three-set defeat.
In a match which lasted one hour and 28 minutes, world no. 14 was clearly the better competitor winning 53% of the total points, including 42 points off his 60 serves. It somehow boiled down to his better service, as Federer could muster only a break point which he failed to convert, as against Raonic's two conversion from five chances.
However, despite the start difference in the quality of serve, the set was only decided in the nine game, when the Canadian got the first of his break points. Then, he preserved the lead to wrest the opening set in 42 minutes.
The 17-time Grand Slam winner was expected fight back, and he did, albeit without success. He forced Raonic to dig deep in the fourth game in the second set, with a break point at play. But the tall Canadian bailed himself out of the trouble with his serves.
And it's was all that Federer could do today. The match also witnessed Raonic matching Federer in ground strokes from the baseline, consistently. And complied with Federer's lacklustre backhand, the match was heavily tilted in Raonic's favour.
Raonic, two games later, broke Federer for a 4-3 lead. Then, he just needed to hold his serves. After one and half hours, he was holding the trophy.
It was Raonic's eight eighth ATP title.