Milos Raonic claimed the eighth title of his career in Brisbane
By Mark Crellin
Last Updated: 10/01/16 4:42pm
Milos Raonic has claimed the Brisbane International title after producing a fine display to defeat defending champion Roger Federer 6-4 6-4 in the final.
The Canadian fourth seed triumphed in just under an hour and a half, breaking Federer once in each set to claim just his second win over the Swiss great at the 11th attempt.
Raonic lost to Federer in last year's final in three tight sets but it was a different story this time as he claimed the eighth Tour title of his career.
But Federer, having produced a scintillating display in his semi-final on Saturday, was off-colour here, finishing with 19 unforced errors, compared to 16 winners.
Raonic was beaten 7-5 in the ace count and sent down six double-faults but impressed with his play from the back of the court, dictating rallies with his forehand and attacking the Federer backhand.
And he will now go into the Australian Open, which starts next Monday, in great heart, as he seeks a maiden Grand Slam title.
The top-seeded Federer had to save two break points in the fifth game of the first set and then faced another two in the ninth, saving the first but putting a forehand into the net on the second.
Raonic closed out the set but took a medical time-out at 2-1 in the second for treatment on his right leg and served four double faults when he returned to give Federer his first break point of the match, but the 17-time Grand Slam winner was unable to covert.
The set looked sure to remain on serve when Federer cruised into a 30-0 lead at 3-3 but he then lost three points in a row, and was broken when he put a weak backhand into the net after a fierce forehand down the line from Raonic.
The Canadian ran into a little trouble as he served for the match at 5-4, falling 15-30 behind after a powerful Federer return.
But Raonic extricated himself with some timely big serving, clinching a deserved victory when a Federer return drifted long.
Raonic has long been tipped for the top but had to endure a slightly disappointing 2015, which ended with him losing his coach Ivan Ljubicic to the Federer camp.
"Hopefully a better year this year than the last," he said in his victory speech.
"This win does great things. It signifies within the team how concrete and good the work we're doing is.
"At the same time, with the difficulties I had last year, it's maybe a good way for me to show the other guys I will face in Melbourne that, you know, I've got my stuff back together and I can play some good tennis again."
Federer looked out-of-sorts in the final and, although he was gracious in defeat, he referred to the flu that has troubled him during the week.
"I'd like to congratulate Milos on a great start," he said. "This year you deserve it, well played and good luck at the Aussie Open.
"I was a bit sick but we made it to the final. I've still got a cough and the throat is a bit weird. I've definitely got to make sure I get over it as quickly as possible.
"It was a tough match, my legs were a little bit wobbly. Still, considering the week I've had, I'm actually quite happy.
"If I had known I would made the finals five days ago, I would have been unbelievably happy."