Milos Raonic prevails on a hot, rainy, endless Australian Open day

MELBOURNE – Milos Raonic is a man of routine.

And at the end of a most un-routine, endless day (and night) at the Australian Open, his victory over Romanian Victor Hanescu was just that – pretty routine.

The 7-6 (11), 6-4, 6-4 win puts the 23-year-old Canadian into the third round, where he’ll face another young gun in Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday.

But to get there, Raonic had to get through the intense heat that forced the tournament to invoke the extreme heat policy for the first time since 2009 and stop play on all but the two retractable-roof stadiums.

That delayed Raonic’s scheduled match by hours and then – suddenly, it seemed – they moved it up and he was on court.

Then lightning, thunder and an impending storm had security racing to Court 15 to escort the players, and suddenly Raonic and Hanescu were headed back to the locker room.

Raonic had a set and a break of serve in the second set in hand, though.

And when they finally returned, his serve did a good job getting him through.

Basically, he took everything the Australian Open could throw at him, and handled it like a veteran.

Click here to see a photo slideshow of Raonic's match.

“It was a day with a lot of different adversities. It was okay. It wasn't too difficult of a day. I'm just happy I got through it as efficiently as I did,” said Raonic, who was nursing a slight ankle sprain suffered during his first-round win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain, and had to call the trainer at 4-5 in the first set to have the tape job adjusted.

During the lightning break, Raonic iced the ankle, but his main concern is not that it impeded his movement – after a bit of a ginger start, it didn’t – but about not making it worse.

Still, it was cranky Milos out there against Hanescu, a throwback to that younger version of himself who would do a lot of yapping at his support group, especially when he was losing.

But he was winning.

Still, the circumstances were enough to make anyone a little cranky.

There were a lot of adjustments to be made, and little time to do them.

“Just a lot of different things. Also before the rain the conditions were quite different, a lot quicker. Then I come out starting from the first game (after the delay) getting everything figured out,” he said.

As well, Raonic had never played under the lights on an outside court at Melbourne Park.

And the lighting is, well, special.

“It’s a little bit yellow, High tosses get lost a little bit because the lights only face down. There's no upwards or sideways lighting,” said Raonic, who had only the five-minute warmup before he had to throw his service toss up into those lights when play resumed.

Raonic is now the only Canadian left on the men’s side in singles, after Davis Cup teammate Vasek Pospisil was forced to pull out of his scheduled Friday third-round singles match against No. 8 seed Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland.

The back issue that first flared up during his first tournament of the year in Chennai, India hasn’t improved.

Pospisil tried to play doubles Thursday with partner Julian Knowle; he lasted just three games before pulling the plug.

He is scheduled to fly home to Vancouver to start rehabbing the back, and hopes and expects to be in good enough shape to play Canada’s first-round Davis Cup tie against Japan in Tokyo, the first weekend in February.

NOTES: Genie Bouchard’s scheduled doubles match was cancelled, as were many of the first-round doubles matches Thursday when the schedulers prioritized the singles to keep the event on track. She will play her third-round singles match against Lauren Davis of the U.S. on a television court Friday, and will have doubles after that.

The match should get under way at about 10 p.m. Thursday night, Eastern time.