BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA—Canadian Milos Raonic held his nerve and broke Roger Federer’s serve once in each set to win the Brisbane International final 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday night, reversing the outcome of the 2015 decider between the pair.
Raonic attacked the top-seeded Federer with his booming serve and forehand, as expected, but also went to the net 13 times in the first set and won 10 of those points to set him on course for only his second win in 11 matches against the 17-time major winner.
The No. 14-ranked Raonic was seeded fourth in Brisbane, where he lost in three sets to Federer in the 2015 final.
Federer, who went 6-5 in finals in 2015 — with all five losses coming to top-ranked Novak Djokovic — struggled earlier in the week with lingering flu-like symptoms, but improved with wins over Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals and Dominic Thiem in the semis.
He fired four double-faults in the next game, giving Federer a breakpoint opportunity, but managed to hold to level the set at 2-2. In the next game, after leading 30-0, Federer gave Raonic another breakpoint chance when he went narrowly wide with a forehand down the line and then conceded the break on the net point when he netted a backhand.
Raonic didn’t have any trouble holding from there, and wrapped up the match in 1 hour, 27 minutes in a confidence-boosting victory just over a week out from the Australian Open, the first major of the season.
“Hopefully, a better year this year than last,” said Raonic, who reached the quarterfinals at the last Australian Open but didn’t progress past the third round at Wimbledon or the U.S. Open after skipping the French Open with injury.
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