Raonic outlasts Sousa to win St Petersburg Open

Milos Raonic saw off a spirited display from Joao Sousa to claim the St Petersburg Open title on Sunday.

Second seed Raonic needed three sets to overcome Sousa, but came through 6-3 3-6 6-3 after two hours and seven minutes.

The victory marks ATP title number seven and the first of 2015 for Raonic, who earned the crucial first-set break in the fourth game of the match.

But the resilient and energetic Sousa battled back to force a decider.

Sousa is ranked 44 places below world number nine Raonic, yet he stood firm in the face of seven break points in his opening two second-set service games before going 3-1 ahead with what proved to be a pivotal break.

However, Raonic’s quality told in the third as he opened up a 2-0 lead and saw out the match out despite intense pressure on his own serve from his Portuguese opponent.

Raonic – who knocked down 22 aces – survived six break points in the final set to secure the triumph and afterwards he said: “It was a very difficult match, very high quality and I’m fortunate to be able to say I won that.

“We both had a lot of opportunities. I’m happy with the way I competed and that I was able to close it out.”