Canada's Raonic downs Bedene, advances to second round at Paris Masters

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PARIS — Big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic beat Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-2 Tuesday in first-round action at the Paris Masters.

Raonic, the 10th seed in Paris, never faced break point and needed just one hour and three minutes to improve to 5-0 against Bedene.

The 29-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., fired 18 aces to four for his Slovenian opponent. Raonic was accurate on just 49 per cent of his first serves, but it didn't affect him much as he won 86 per cent of his second serve points. When he did get his first serve in, he won 86 per cent of those points as well.

Raonic made the most of his opportunities to take control of the match, breaking Bedene three times on five chances.

Raonic, a finalist at the Masters 1000 event in 2014, next faces French wild-card Pierre-Hughes Hebert, who defeated American Tennys Sandgren 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4). Raonic won the only other meeting between the players at the 2019 Australian Open.

In other matches, three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka defeated Daniel Evans 6-3, 7-6 (3).

The 12th-seeded Wawrinka, a former No. 3, hit 35 winners to extend his record to 5-0 against his British rival.

"I was serving and moving well," said Wawrinka, whose best result at the indoor tournament was reaching the semifinals in 2015, the year he won the French Open.

Wawrinka dropped only seven points on his first serve and saved the two break points he faced in the third game of the opening set. He will next face either Gilles Simon or Tommy Paul.

Also, Richard Gasquet defeated Taylor Fritz 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 to progress to the second round.

The event is the final Masters tournament of the season. It is being held without fans because of lockdown measures implemented in France to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

— With files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press