By Caroline Cameron
Is Murray good or what?
Milos Raonic came into his fourth round match on a high after two straight sets wins in the U.S. Open second and third round. His game was coming together.
And then Murray came along. Early in the first set, both players were comfortably holding serve. In the first set, Raonic hit 70% of his first serves. Normally, that would easily win him a set. But against Murray, one of the best returners on tour, it wasn’t enough. Just a few games into the first set, Murray started reading Raonic’s serve and adjusted his return game. In the first set, Murray won 67% of the points on Raonic’s second serve.
But it wasn’t just Murray’s return game that won him the match, it was his counter-punching. Murray is so consistent, that you have to work harder than usual to break him. Murray lures his opponents into a nice rally and then suddenly alters the pace and comes in for the kill. In these rallies Raonic would try and dictate the point, but he’d usually end up making the unforced error (Raonic had 27 unforced errors in the match compared to Murray’s 12). The young Canuck is kind of caught in a catch 22; he’s trying to be aggressive, but in turn, he’s hitting too many unforced errors. His consistency isn’t quite there.
But Raonic did a lot of things well Monday night. His shot selection and placement was quite good, but Murray was just hitting everything back. Raonic was also coming into the net more, but he only won 45% of those points. Raonic was caught in no man’s land too many times and Murray’s passing shots kept getting by.
Raonic didn’t lose to Murray because he played terribly, he lost cause Murray played so well. The skill is there, but Raonic has a lot of work to do.