SAN JOSE -- Milos Raonic sent the SAP Open out of the Bay Area with a bang on Sunday. There were several bangs, actually, including one clocked at 148 mph.
Raonic blasted 19 aces, including four in his first service game of the match, to set a powerful tone for a relatively easy 6-4, 6-3 victory over Tommy Haas and claim his third consecutive SAP title at HP Pavilion.
Alas, the 22-year-old Raonic, who was born in Yugoslavia but moved to Canada with his parents at age 3, won't get a chance to extend his Bay Area dominance. After 125 years, the Bay Area will be losing its men's tennis tournament toMemphis, Tenn., in 2014.
"It's already come up as to what to play next year, since there isn't going to be this event," Raonic said. "I'm really sad to see this go. It was like a go-to move in my schedule, one part that was never discussed. It was always, 'Let's go back there.' "
A lot of people are sad to see the tournament go, but Raonic didn't give the crowd of 5,114 much time to get nostalgic or wistful about the demise of the SAP on its final day here. He dispatched Haas in just 75 minutes.
Raonic joked afterward that he would have liked to roll up the HP Pavilion court surface, put it in his bag and make off with it. To be sure, it's been awfully good to him. Over his three-year title run -- something that hadn't been accomplished in the event since Tony Trabert from 1953-55 -- he went 12-0 and was broken just twice in 124 service
This year, he didn't even face a break point in his 39 service games and won all eight sets he played without even being pushed to a tiebreaker.
"A lot has happened here," Raonic told the crowd after the match. "I've grown a lot here. I've had my best matches here. It's something pretty special."
Haas, who was game but overmatched almost from the start, agreed.
"There was nothing I could have done," the 34-year-old German said. "I didn't play a bad match. I just came up against a guy who played some unbelievable tennis. He didn't give me any looks on his serve."
After Haas won the first game of the match, Raonic stepped to the service line and started firing bullets at varying speeds and angles. His four-ace opener came at speeds of 144, 143, 123 and 148 mph.
But unlike hard-serving John Isner, who was beaten in straight sets by Haas in the semifinals, Raonic also brought a polished power forehand, a deadly accurate two-handed backhand and an all-around aggressiveness that set him apart from the rest of the field.
With the score 30-all in the third game, he broke Haas with a scalded cross-court return winner and a backhand down the line. That pretty much did it for the first set. Haas won just seven points against Raonic's serve in the entire set.
In the second set, it was even more lopsided. Raonic lost just four points on his serve. Haas held his own serve early and forged a 3-2 lead, but Raonic turned on the power to win the final four games and the match.
After breaking Haas to take a 4-3 lead, Raonic faltered briefly with two double faults in the eighth game. But at 30-all, he pummeled aces of 143 and 127 mph to effectively close the door.
The question now is whether Raonic can build on the foundation he built in San Jose -- three of his four ATP Tour titles have come here -- and take it to all parts of the world, most notably in the Grand Slam events against the Big Four of men's tennis: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.
"Look, if you put a Grand Slam in this arena, I would put him up on that list for sure," Haas said. "But he has a chance. He's one of the guys who has the firepower, and he's still young and getting better, so you have to like that. If he starts feeling it elsewhere like he feels it here, he's going to be tough."
From Raonic's view, he feels he is ready to graduate to another level.
"I think I'm a much better player in general, I think I'm a much better competitor, and I have more experience, so I know better how to deal with situations," he said.
In the doubles final, Xavier Malisse and Frank Moser beat Lleyton Hewitt and Marinko Matosevic 6-0, 6-7 (5), 10-4.