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ATP Tokyo: Johnson edges Thiem! Winning return for Raonic

ATP Tokyo: Johnson edges Thiem! Winning return for Raonic

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by Jovica Ilic

Steve Johnson won his 27th match of the season and third against the Top 10 player overall, prevailing against the second seed Dominic Thiem by 4-6 7-6 6-4 in 2 hours and 18 minutes for his first win over the Austrian in 3 matches. The American took just 2 points more than his rival, saving 3 out of 5 break points while Dominic had to play against 13 break points, fending off 11 to stay in touch all the way.

Thiem scored the only break in the first set for a 3-2 lead, serving well in the remaining games to clinch it by 6-4. They traded breaks earlier in the second set and they served well in the following games to develop a really nice baseline battle.

Johnson wasted a set point on the return in game 12 but he won the tie break by 7-5 to wrap up the set and send the match into a decider. With the momentum on his side, the American was by far the better player in the first part of the third set, and he converted his 6th break point since the start of the set in game 5 to take the lead.

Dominic gave his best to hang in and pull the break back, creating 2 break chances in the 8th game, only to be denied by Steve who concluded the match with a hold at 15 in game 10, improving his score against the players from the Top 10 to 3-20! Milos Raonic returned to the court for the first time since Montreal, and he scored a 6-3 6-4 triumph over Serb Viktor Troicki in 71 minutes, notching his 6th win in 7 matches over Viktor. Canadian fired 16 aces and he faced just 1 break point.

On the other hand, he seized all the chances he earned on the return, stealing rival's serve once in each set for a commanding victory. Raonic hit an ace to fend off that break opportunity in game 5 and he broke Troicki in the very next game, cracking a forehand return winner to create a 4-2 lead.

He took the set with a volley winner in game 9, hoping to continue in the same style in set number 2 as well. There, he made a crucial move with a break in game 3 and he had no troubles to bring the match home from there, crossing the finish line with 4 service winners in game 10 for the place in the second round.

First round results:

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