Go Milos, go! Raonic v Federer Preview

Tonight’s Fourth Round meeting between Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Canada’s Milos Raonic should be a cracker of a game. The Swiss Master and ‘the next big thing’ have met before on three occasions and although Raonic is yet to beat Federer, he has tested him in their previous meetings.

At 6’5’’, Raonic is not the fastest guy on a tennis court and between points he almost seems to saunter or swagger around the court. At times it does look like it’s all too much effort to chase down a fast moving ball or perhaps it is just too difficult to get his frame down the court any quicker. But what he lacks in court speed he makes up for in his booming serve. Raonic served more aces per match and won more service games than any other player last year and in 2011 was named ATP Newcomer of the Year.

There are high expectations on his shoulders and unlike our Bernard Tomic, who seems in such a rush to conquer the world of men’s tennis, Raonic says he is patient and believes his dedication and hard work will be rewarded. For one, I agree. I think Raonic will become a force in men’s tennis. He does, however, have much to work on. Whilst his serve is something he relies on and he has a very impressive forehand, there is general consensus that his return of serve and backhand are two areas that need some more work.

Raonic has improved over the course of the summer and is coming into form at the right time. His surprise early exit from the Brisbane International and his only reasonable form at the AAMI Classic have been overcome. In his last two matches, especially against Kohlschreiber, we have seen him take greater control of the matches and play on his terms. He wasn’t broken on serve in his second and third round matches after a shaky opening round match against Hajek, where he conceded the first set. Kohlschreiber noted after his third round loss that it wasn’t so much the speed of Raonic’s serve but the variation. Raonic served a 228km/h ace to win Saturday’s match against the German.

Raonic will take it up to Federer tonight. He has played him three times but don’t be fooled by the fact he hasn’t beaten him. His games against Federer have been long and tight. Federer has even conceded that he probably should have lost one or two of those matches. It is fair to say that Federer’s experience is what probably got him through and although he will have that to guide him tonight, we are in for perhaps another long night of tennis.

Published on www.theroar.com.au 21/1/13

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