By Steve Gorten
KEY BISCAYNE – Milos Raonic didn’t face one break point in his last match.
Monday, trailing 4-3 in the third set and serving, Raonic stared at double-break point.
He dashed both chances for Jeremy Chardy and ultimately pulled off a 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 (3) win on stadium court to advance to the fourth round of the 2015 Miami Open.
“I just tried to stay in the present, sort of simplify, try to take control,” he said. “On two second serves, he missed both returns and sort of gave me a lifeline.
“I tried to carry that all the way through. The goal at that point with the way things were going was just to get it to a tiebreak and see what happens.”
Raonic, ranked No. 6 in the world and seeded No. 5 at this tournament, has reached at least the quarterfinals in eight of his last 10 ATP Masters 1000 events. It appeared that the 24-year-old Canadian would easily win his third-round match at Crandon Park Tennis Center Monday. But his level of play dropped in the final two sets.
“It was something I try to stay away from as much as I can,” said Raonic, who lost to Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of last year’s Miami Open. “He started to play more freely and I went the other way. He played good the second set. I thought he played better than I did in the third set.”
Chardy, ranked No. 38 in the world said his inability to break Raonic’s serve in the eighth game of the third set was “the big moment of the match.” He first went for a big forehand on a service return and hit the ball into the net. The next point, Chardy had an unforced error.
“I started the match really bad like [Sunday] when I was 4-0 down to Jurgen [Melzer],” Chardy said. “I was feeling really bad during all of the first part of the match. I tried to stay really calm and find a solution, and I was a little bit lucky to break at 5-4 in the second. After 5-all, I turned the match.
“I’m really sad because I think the match turned and I had more opportunities than him in the third set,” Chardy added. “But he’s a really big server so it’s always tough to break him. When it’s 15-30 or break-point down, he always makes a really good serve.”
Ranoic will next face the winner between Dimitrov and Isner to be decided in tonight’s first match on center court.