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Tennis: Raonic beats Berdych to Bangkok title

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Canadian Milos Raonic used his thumping serve to ace his way to victory over top seed Tomas Berdych Sunday, with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 win at the Thailand Open.

Third seed Raonic took full advantage of his big serve to beat his Czech opponent, firing 18 aces -- his last to set up a pair of match points.

After winning the first set in a tiebreaker, the Canadian tightened his grip in the second to earn the fifth title of his career, converting his first match point with a down-the-line winner after 77 minutes.

His second title of the season, after San Jose in February, will serve him well in the points chase to a possible place in the eight-man ATP World Tour Finals in London in November.

"Of course, it feel great to win the title," said Raonic.

"The first set was about finding rhythm. Once I did I was solid after that."

"I knew I had to play slightly more aggressive, not just put the ball in play. I did that and was able to take control, I got some insight into what I needed to do to beat him. It was great to be back on hard court. I got some confidence and that is what I needed this week."

Raonic also beat Berdych at their only previous meeting, in Cincinnati in 2012.

Berdych, the only member of the ranking top 10 without a title in 2013, admitted he was out-played in the Thai final.

"Today he was even more exceptional, he served even better and didn't give me many chances," said the Czech, ranked number six on the ATP.

"I was playing this final to win, it was my third of the season. Even if I lost I felt I played consistently. Of course I would have loved to win the title, my goal is to be as high as possible in the rankings," he said.

Raonic, who has reached nine finals, has achieved all of his five trophies on his favoured fast hard courts.

The Canadian went one win further than his new coach, Croatian Ivan Ljubicic, who played the final in Bangkok in 2006 but lost.

Raonic said his win will not lead to complacency.

"The team and I will just keep plugging away and working hard. A lot of things are going well right now," he said.

Berdych is defending finalist points next week in Tokyo, where he is seeded third behind Juan Martin del Potro and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130929/tennis-raonic-beats-berdych-bangkok-title-0