WASHINGTON (AP) — With a red-and-white maple leaf flag draped on the table in front of him, and a crystal trophy nearby marking his victory in the first all-Canadian ATP final, Milos Raonic already was thinking about what's up ahead.
Thanks to a dominant serve and an increasingly versatile game, the second-seeded Raonic earned his sixth career title by beating 13th-seeded Vasek Pospisil 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday at the Citi Open.
Not allowing himself much time to celebrate, Raonic planned to fly to Canada later Sunday for Toronto's Rogers Cup — another chance to demonstrate on hard courts that he is ready to follow up his semifinal showing at Wimbledon with a deep run at the U.S. Open. The year's last Grand Slam tournament begins Aug. 25.
"Sometimes I can get caught up in what the next goal is — the bigger goal," said the 23-year-old Raonic, who will equal his career-best ranking Monday by rising one spot to No. 6. "And that's about not losing too much energy this week, being the best I can tennis-wise and physical-wise and mentally for next week."
He did not drop a set in Washington, winning 52 of 53 service games, saving 7 of 8 break points and hitting 83 aces, topping 140 mph (225 kph). Against Pospisil, he hit nice aces, saved the only break point he faced and converted four of his own.
"You can't read his serve at all. You kind of have to play the guessing game, because it's so accurate and fast," said Pospisil, whose ranking will jump from 36th into the top 30.
It was the first time two men from Canada played each other in a tour final in the Open era, which began in 1968, and flags from the country dotted the stands on the outskirts of Washington.
"That kind of atmosphere has been more consistently following us around the world. It's great to see that," Raonic said. "Not that many people knew there were this many Canadians in Washington."
Speaking by telephone from her office in Toronto before Sunday's match, Tennis Canada President and CEO Kelly Murumets said: "The beautiful irony is that it's a final between two Canadians in (the U.S.) capital. I love that irony."
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