• Raonic begins in Monte-Carlo against Benneteau

    4/15/13 3:34 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Raonic begins in Monte-Carlo against Benneteau Milos Raonic will kick off his Monte-Carlo campaign on Monday. Up first for the big-serving Canadian is Julien Benneteau.

    Milos Raonic and Julien Benneteau will be squaring off for the third time in their careers when they clash in round one of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Monday. The head-to-head series is tied at one win apiece; Benneteau prevailed 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-4 at the 2011 Paris Masters before Raonic scored a 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 victory in a Davis Cup rubber at home in Canada a few months later.

    Raonic has plenty of momentum heading into Monte-Carlo after delivering Davis Cup heroics earlier this month. The host Canadians beat Italy in part thanks two two wins by their top player--over Andreas Seppi on day one and the clincher against Fabio Fognini. Overall for his 2013 campaign, Raonic is 13-4 with a title in San Jose.

    Ranked 12 spots behind his opponent at 27th in the world (as of Sunday), Benneteau is a decent 12-8 for the year. The Frenchman reached the semis in Sydney and finished runner-up to Juan Martin Del Potro in Rotterdam, but he lost his openers in both Indian Wells and Miami.

    Although Benneteau's win against this opponent came on an indoor hard court, that is exactly the surface on which Raonic would prefer to play this one. Clay will give the underdog a chance to get into a number of extended rallies, but Raonic's form should still see him through in three sets.

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Conspirator , 4/15/13 6:15 PM

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