Raonic tramples Troicki on return in Tokyo

The former Wimbledon finalist faces either 2015 Tokyo runner-up Benoit Paire of France or Japan's Yuichi Sugita.

Currently ranked 12th, Raonic finished runner-up at the Japan Open three years running from 2012-2014, twice to local favourite Kei Nishikori.   -  AFP

Canada's Milos Raonic looked sharp on his return from wrist surgery Tuesday as he battered Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the Japan Open.

The third seed, who was forced to sit out the US Open due to a persistent problem with his left wrist, displayed very few signs of rust after a seven-week absence, taking just 71 minutes to blast his way into the last 16.

A right-hander with a double-fisted backhand, Raonic tore through the opening set in bright Tokyo sunshine and secured the key break early in the second with a cleverly disguised drop shot.

Troicki fought gamely but when a Raonic volley clipped the net and trickled over, the Serb slammed his racquet to the ground in disgust and bellowed furiously at the Japanese crowd.

Raonic, a former world number three and winner of eight ATP Tour singles titles, rifled 16 aces to pile the misery on Troicki, completing victory with a kicking serve that his opponent could only waft into the net.

Currently ranked 12th, Raonic finished runner-up at the Japan Open three years running from 2012-2014, twice to local favourite Kei Nishikori.

The former Wimbledon finalist faces either 2015 Tokyo runner-up Benoit Paire of France or Japan's Yuichi Sugita.

Elsewhere, Frenchman Richard Gasquet, another former Japan Open finalist, upset American sixth seed Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-6 after clinically winning the second-set breaker 7-2.

Croatian Marin Cilic heads the Tokyo field this year at a tournament whose list of former champions includes tennis greats Ken Rosewall, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.