(Wimbledon) Milos Raonic triumphed on his return to the Grand Slam tournament on Wednesday after beating Austrian Dennis Novak 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (5) and 6- 1 in the first round of the Wimbledon Open.
The Canadian had 28 aces in his first major tournament game since losing to Serbian Novak Djokovic in the 2021 Australian Open Round of 16.
Raonic shrugged off two rain-induced interruptions and overcame Novak after two hours and 38 minutes.
The 32-year-old veteran won the last five games and sealed the game after hitting an ace on his second match point.
Raonic, of Thornhill, Ont., returned to competition last month after being plagued by numerous injuries for almost two years.
The former world No. 3 and finalist at Wimbledon in 2016 started the Grand Slam tournament presented on the grass by occupying the 849th level in the world.
Raonic will face 16th-seeded American Tommy Paul in the next round, who defeated Japan’s Shintaro Mochizuki 7-5, 6-3, 6-1.
A busy day was expected for the Canadians on Wednesday after rain caused major schedule delays at the All England Club.
Ontarian Denis Shapovalov was finally able to continue and complete his first-round duel against Moldovan Radu Albot, which was interrupted by darkness on Monday.
On the restart Shapovalov was down 5-7, 2-2 and proved dominant winning the duel in four sets 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. In the second round, Shapovalov will battle Frenchman Grégoire Barrère, ranked 49th at the ATP.
On the women’s side, qualifier Carol Zhao was eliminated in three sets, 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 against Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch.
Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., and Rebecca Marino of Vancouver were scheduled to play their first round match on Wednesday.
For her part, Laval’s Leylah Fernandez will meet fifth seed Caroline Garcia in the second round on Thursday.