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Federer works out Raonic puzzle to claim win

ESPN staff
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Roger Federer © PA Photos
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Roger Federer had to dig deep into his reserves to beat rising star Milos Raonic in the Madrid Open.

Raonic has been tipped as a future grand slam winner and he demonstrated why with some blistering play, but Federer has 16 of those under his belt and he rallied from a set down to claim a 4-6 7-5 7-6(4) win.

Such is the weapon that Raonic possesses on serve, he had Federer stretching at thin air a lot of the time. On 21 occasions Federer could not lay a racket on a Raonic serve. And with the slick surface playing to his strengths, he adopted a simple policy of winning service games with ease and attacking Federer's serve.

It worked early on and he secured one break of serve to take the opening set.

He put Federer under huge pressure in the opening game of the second set. Twice Raonic retrieved Federer smashes for clean winners and produced a stunning backhand down the line to craft a break point. But the Swiss fended off the threat and he found a way of combating the missiles that were sent down at him.

He secured a vital break to get the match on level terms and the two traded blows all the way to a final-set tiebreak.

Federer secured the first minibreak when anticipating a Raonic backhand down the line and picking him off. And having got his nose in front, Federer shut the door on his opponent to claim his place in the third round.

Juan Martin Del Potro carried the form he showed in Estoril to Madrid as he claimed a 6-4 7-6(1) win over Mikhail Youzhny, while Nicolas Almagro was a 6-3 7-6(2) winner over Marcel Granollers.

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