Archive for April, 2012
Saturday, April 28th, 2012
By Caroline Cameron
What a week it has been for Milos Raonic.
In the past three days the Thornhill native beat Nicolas Almagro and Andy Murray on clay. It’s been one of the best weeks of Raonic’s young career.
And although he lost 7-6(2), 7-6(5) to David Ferrer in the Barcelona Open semifinals, he shouldn’t be too upset. Raonic stuck with Ferrer throughout the entire match, but Ferrer’s consistency and patience won him the match.
At the start of the first set, Raonic was in his groove; his serve bounced high and his forehand was crushing. But late in the first, his serve stopped cooperating and he hit too many unforced errors on his backhand side. When you face a veteran player like Ferrer, on his best surface, the odd error can cost you the match. That’s what happened to Raonic.
But Raonic continues to improve. His movement on the court is much better than it was just a year ago. For a big man on tour, he moves relatively well, especially on clay. Raonic also seems more confident coming to the net and the angles he manages to hit from his forehand groundstrokes have been spacing the court out nicely for him.
Thanks to his run in Barcelona, Raonic’s ranking should rise above his career high no. 25 on Monday. Raonic has a week off before his next tournament in Madrid.
Friday, April 27th, 2012
By Caroline Cameron
It’s been a good couple of days for Milos Raonic.
First, Raonic easily beat Nicolas Almagro in straight sets…on clay.
So what did Raonic do next? Well, he beat no. 4 in the world, Andy Murray 6-4, 7-6(3)…on clay.
And all of a sudden, the 21-year-old Canuck is turning into a triple threat on the hard, grass and clay courts. I didn’t see this coming, at least, not this quickly.
His win against Murray is Raonic’s first top 4 win of his career, and he couldn’t have asked for a better opponent. Murray has been extremely inconsistent and wasn’t prepared for Raonic’s powerful forehand and wicked serve. Raonic lost only four points on serve in the first set against Murray and hit 14 aces in the match.
That’s been the difference for Raonic. On clay, his serve gets slowed down and his shorter, speedier opponents have an advantage. But this week, Raonic has been moving more freely than his 6’5” frame suggests and his impressive forehand has been helping him almost as much as his booming serve. Not only that, but his return game is improving.
Raonic’s test will continue in the semifinals when he’ll face clay court specialist David Ferrer. Ferrer has won all three of their previous meetings, but Raonic is entering the match with a lot of confidence.
If Raonic can beat Almagro, Murray, and Ferrer on clay, it’s going to be a great spring season for Canadian tennis fans.
Thursday, April 26th, 2012
By Caroline Cameron
Well, I didn’t see that coming.
Milos Raonic upset clay court specialist and world no. 13 Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-3 in the Barcelona Open.
This has to be Raonic’s best win on clay ever.
Raonic’s game isn’t suited for clay; the surface slows down his serve and movement. But his training on the clay courts of Spain with his coach Galo Blanco seems to be paying off.
Keep this in mind; Almagro has won all of his 11 ATP titles on clay while Raonic has only won 9 career matches on clay. But on Thursday, Raonic hit seven aces to beat Almagro in just over an hour.
Now Raonic is through to his fourth ATP quarterfinal of the year where he’ll face Andy Murray for the first time in his career. The two were supposed to meet in Miami, but Raonic had to pull out due to an ankle injury.
“He’s obviously got a huge serve and a very good game,” Murray told the ATP before his matchup with Raonic. “He can obviously dictate the match, so you need to make sure you play a solid match. There’s a chance that he’s going to give you the odd opportunity by making mistakes and you need to be ready to take that.”
Let’s hope for a close match. You can catch it LIVE Friday at 6:30am on Sportsnet ONE.
*Quotes from the ATP