LONDON – Canadian tennis players Milos Raonic and Aleksandra Wozniak got their Olympic tournaments off to a winning start.
Raonic posting a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 victory over Japan’s Tatsuma Ito, while Wozniak, from Blainville, Que., eased past New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic 6-2, 6-1 in her singles opener Monday.
Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., used smooth ground strokes and cut shots to prevent Ito from finding his rhythm. The Canadian picked up an early break for a 3-1 lead and was never threatened the rest of the way.
“For me I’m fortunate enough to play with a big enough game that most of my results are going to depend on me,” Raonic said. “I feel like if I step it up, I will have an opportunity to win.”
Toronto’s Daniel Nestor and Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil were scheduled to play their opening men’s doubles match later Monday against Horia Tecau and Adrian Ungur of Romania.
The draw gets a lot tougher now for Raonic, who at No. 25 is 44 positions higher that Ito in the world rankings. Up next is a second-round match Tuesday against world No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France.
“Really my job is just going to be go out there, take care of my serve and try to create opportunities,” Raonic said. “But I’m going to have to go out there going for the win. He’s not going to give it to me.”
On the water, the Canadian men’s eight rowing crew’s found some redemption after a woeful first race over the weekend.
The Canadians finished second in its repechage to advance to the final. It was a bounce-back performance for defending Olympic champions after finishing a disappointing last in a tough four-boat heat Saturday.
Canada’s crew charged hard at Britain in the final 500 metres but the British, who led from the start, held on to win in five minutes 26.85 seconds. Canada was second in 5:27.41.
The third-place Netherlands and fourth-place Australia also advanced to Wednesday’s final. Poland and Ukraine did not move on.
The Canadian men’s four finished third in their heat to advance to the semifinal.
Australia easily won the heat in an Olympic best 5:47.06, ahead of Germany.
In the pool, Canadians Barbara Jardin and Samantha Cheverton both advanced to the swimming seminfinals in their Olympic debuts.
Montreal’s Jardin clocked the sixth fastest time overall in the women’s 200-metre freestyle in one minute 57.92 seconds, while Cheverton, of Lachine, Que., was ninth in 1:58.11.
Erica Morningstar of Calgary wasn’t as fortunate. She missed a berth in the 200-metre individual medley semi by one spot, finishing 17th in 2:14.32.
In men’s beach volleyball, Canadians Josh Binstock and Martin Reader dropped a 2-0 decision to Norway in their second match of the tournament.
Binstock, from Richmond Hill, Ont., and Reader, of Comox Valley, B.C., are now 1-1 and still in contention.