Dusan Lajovic continued to grow in confidence on Thursday by reaching the Internazionali BNL d’Italia third round. The Serbian capitalised on the service woes of Milos Raonic, who hit 10 double faults, for a 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-2 victory in two hours and 32 minutes.
World No. 25 Lajovic, who now plays nine-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal on Friday, came into the ATP Masters 1000 tournament with an 0-3 record since the ATP Tour resumption.
Lajovic was the beneficiary of a concentration lapse in the first-set tie-break and, after exchanging service breaks once more early in the second set, it was Raonic who steered a backhand crosscourt winner into space for a break at 3-3. Lajovic regrouped in the decider, breaking down Raonic’s game for a 3-1 lead and he completed victory when Raonic missed a forehand.
Raonic, who won 17 of his 23 points at the net, committed 25 errors off his forehand wing. Last month, the 29-year-old Canadian reached his fourth Masters 1000 final (l. to Djokovic).
Later today, Casper Ruud meets Lorenzo Sonego in the Rome second round.