Raonic on the rise after repeat San Jose success
February 20, 2012 -- Updated 1331 GMT (2131 HKT)
Canada's Milos Raonic successfully defending his SAP Open crown on Sunday.
- Canada's Milos Raonic beats Denis Istomin to win the SAP Open in San Jose
- The 21-year-old won his first ATP Tour title at the same event 12 months ago
- Raonic is the first male player to claim two tournament wins this season
(CNN) -- He was named the most promising player in men's tennis for 2011, and Milos Raonic's early form this year indicates that more accolades will be coming his way in the near future.
On Sunday, the ATP Tour's Newcomer of the Year became the first man to win two titles in 2012 as he successfully defended his SAP Open title in San Jose.
The win was poignant for the Yugoslavia-born Canadian, who claimed his breakthrough win at the same tournament 12 months ago.
"I feel like I'm a much better tennis player than I was last year," the 21-year-old told the ATP website after his 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 victory over Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin in the final. "I feel last year I was sort of playing probably higher than my potential.
I feel like I'm a much better tennis player than I was last year
"This year, I felt like I came in a much better player and I played well. First of all, it's great to win it the first time. But coming back and being able to defend it means so much as well."
The world No. 35 added to his impressive win at January's Chennai Open in India, where he became the first player to win a tournament without dropping serve since 16-time grand slam winner Roger Federer in 2008.
Raonic's booming serve was again impressive throughout the San Jose hard-court tournament as the third seed smashed 61 aces, won 86% of points on his first serve and held 41 of 42 service games.
"I won just four points on his serve, which makes it very difficult to win the match," said unseeded Istomin, who is still searching for his maiden title.
"I knew he was a great server and a good player. It's very difficult to return,"
Raonic concurred with his opponent: "I think I served pretty flawlessly throughout the week."
Part of complete coverage on
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
Rafael Nadal is still the "King of Clay" -- but his crown has slipped a bit, says CNN's Will Edmonds.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 2359 GMT (0759 HKT)
The Ukrainian-born, British tennis star loses fight against liver cancer, just a few weeks after revealing that she was battling the disease.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis."
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1800 GMT (0200 HKT)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.
March 21, 2014 -- Updated 1107 GMT (1907 HKT)
Tennis star Venus Williams reveals how she is beating the autoimmune disease that derailed her career.
March 5, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
After two decades dedicated to the game, Amelie Mauresmo wants a second life -- one away from tennis.
Almost five years to the day after reducing Roger Federer to tears at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal shed a few in his own loser's speech.
Today's five most popular stories