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Laser-focused Raonic moves on in Delray with dismissal of Istomin

Laser-focused Raonic moves on in Delray with dismissal of Istomin

The No. 2 seed is looking to get some rhythm going after a first-round loss in New York, but feels he's "getting better and better."

DELRAY BEACH, Fla.—Milos Raonic became the favorite at the Delray Beach Open, and he didn't even realize it until after his 6-2, 6-2 win over Denis Istomin. 

During his match, No. 1-seeded Nick Kyrgios withdrew from singles with a left wrist injury, making the No. 2-seeded Canadian the top man to beat. As expected, Raonic is unperturbed by what's happening anywhere but right in front of him.

"I have to play my next mach against [Cedrik-Marcel] Stebe and I have to focus on that," the 2017 Delray finalist said. "The rest is beyond thoughts right now."

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What was in front of him on Tuesday was a lucky loser, replacing last week's New York Open finalist Andreas Seppi. Again, Raonic was unruffled. 

"Both of them I've played before so it wasn't like it was with with somebody I didn't know too well," Raonic said. "I had an idea of how to prepare, so I just really had to focus a lot on myself." 

The 29-year-old is thinking only positive thoughts about himself this week, after some mixed results so far in 2020. Sandwiched between two first-round losses was a run to the Australian Open quarterfinals. The former world No. 3 knows what it takes to be at the top, and has proven he has the game (see: eight ATP titles), if only he can stay healthy for a longer stretch of time.

"It's been positive; I've been playing well," he said. "Obviously, I didn't play much over the last six months so it's been a little up and own. Once I get going, I can get into a tournament, and I can get sort of my footing under me. I'm getting better and better, so I'm happy with that."