Milos Raonic – Canada Fan Blog an (unofficial) blog about tennis and Canadian player Milos Raonic

30Oct/11Off

Vasek Pospisil to face John Isner in 1st round at Valencia

Vasek Pospisil (CAN) is up fourth in the afternoon on the "Agora" court at the Valencia Open 500 against American John Isner.  The afternoon matches start at 1pm CET and assuming 2 hours per match, Vasek's start time will be about 2 pm Eastern Time tomorrow, 31 October.  (Order of Play)

John and Vasek have yet to meet on the tour, but the difference in rankings tells us that Vasek has a tough match ahead of him.  A tough draw all around for the Canadians (Milos plays Cilic in the 1st round) in Valencia but it's not like either of our two entries in the main draw have failed to surprise us before!  Go Vasek!

UPDATE: Vasek Pospisil defeated John Isner (USA) in a hard fought three set match, 6-3 3-6 7-6(9).

Pospisil will face the winner of the Ferrer vs Verdasco match which will be decided tomorrow. Milos Raonic isn't scheduled to play on Tuesday, so no doubt his match with Cilic will be played on Wednesday, Nov. 2. The tournament organizers are no doubt taking Cilic's victory in St. Petersburg into account and are giving him some extra days off before he has to play again.

-wacb

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29Oct/11Off

Valencia 500 Preview – Milos and Vasek

The Valencia Open 500 for 2011 starts today, 29 October, in the one and only Valencia, Spain.

Milos Raonic to meet Marin Cilic in the first round at the Valencia Open 500.

The order of play isn't available for tomorrow yet, but he is not playing on Saturday for sure.  Marin Cilic is playing the final of the St. Petersburg Open (ATP 250) tomorrow against Tipsarevic, so it's a good chance we won't see the Milos-Marin matchup until at least Monday : ), where Cilic (CRO) will definately be feeling tired but confident given his result this week.

Raonic, on the other hand, has been resting all week in preparation for this tournament (he did not play in either ATP 250 event last week).  He is coming from a close loss to Monfils in the semi-finals at Stockholm the week before, so no lack of confidence there either.

The players have never met before in an ATP World Tour match, and it will be a good one to be sure.  If Milos were to win, he could potentially face Dolgopolov in the second round, who is in the same category of young impressive up-and-comers...

Vasek Pospisil defeated Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) today to advance to the second qualifying round where he will face Pere Riba of Spain.

Up next for Vasek Pospisil following his win a couple of hours ago is Pere Riba.  This match will most likely be played tomorrow, but again, no timing since we're missing the order of play.

Update: Vasek Pospisil defeated Pere Riba in qualifying today 6-0 2-1(Ret'd). He will face John Isner (USA) in the first round.

-wacb

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26Oct/11Off

Pospisil loses to Seppi at St. Petersburg 2011

Vasek Pospisil (CAN) lost a close match with Andreas Seppi (ITA) today in the first round of main draw play at the St. Petersburg Open, 5-7, 6-7(4).

The first set saw a break for each player in the early parts of the set, but at 5-4 when Pospisil was up while the players were on serve, Seppi won 3 games in a row to win the set 7-5.

The second set was close again.  Pospisil started with a vengance, winning the first 3 games to be up a break at 3-0.  Seppi answered by winning the next 3 games and the match was tied again.  For the rest of the set, the players held serve until 6-6 to force a tiebreak.  Pospisil struck first with a mini-break to make it 2-1 after Seppi's two service attempts, but was broken right back on his first subsequent service attempt.  Seppi was able to break Pospisil once more to make it 5-3 and consolidate it on his serve to win the tiebreak 7-4.

The match was close, with breaks by both players in both sets and each set being decided by a single break of serve or a single mini-break of serve.  A fine performance from Vasek in Russia...  keep it up!

Here are the final numbers:

- wacb

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24Oct/11Off

Vasek Pospisil qualifies for St. Petersburg Open!

The other Canadian tennis up-and-comer, Vasek Pospisil, qualified for the main draw of the St. Petersburg Open 2011 in Russia today when he defeated A. Kudryavtsev (RUS) (ref).  He is not listed on tomorrow's order of play like the other 3 qualifiers, but instead he is playing on Wednesday, 26 Oct, versus Andreas Seppi of Italy (according to Vasek's "twitter" feed).

No timings yet but I'll post tomorrow when I catch the order of play whenever they post it in the afternoon or so.

Update: Vasek Pospisil should be just about to step up to Court 2 in St. Petersburg at around 7:30am Eastern Time versus Adreas Seppi.

With Milos taking a break this week, let's take the opportunity to watch the man responsible for our latest Davis Cup success and wish him luck in St. Petersburg!

L'autre joueur Canadien qui on devrais regarder depuis la victoire à Davis Cup va jouer Mercredi, le 26 oct, contre Andreas Seppi (ITA) après avoir qualifié pour le draw principal à la tournoi 250 à St. Petersburg, Russia.

-wacb

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22Oct/11Off

Raonic loses to Monfils in Stockholm

Gael Monfils (FRA) came back from a set down to defeat Milos Raonic in the semi-finals at the If Stockholm Open, 6(6)-7 6-4 6-3.

Monfils was a little inconsistent in his second service game, which allowed Raonic to earn a couple of break points. But Monfils came up with some clutch serves to hold on and keep from falling behind early. The backhand from Raonic was looking good to start the match, both from the baseline and at the net. After double faulting and making a few loose errors, Raonic found himself down 14-40 to Monfils at 3-3. As we so often see, Milos relied on a few big serves and forehands to get to deuce. He would have to save another break point before getting out of that tough service game. In his usual style, Monfils was covering the court with reckless abandon and went to the ground on two occasions. This match was certainly living up to the expectations. At five games all, Monfils would open up a 0-30 lead on Raonic's serve, but Milos kept his cool and ran off four straight points to put the pressure back on his opponent. On set point in the tiebreak, Milos let a shot go that he could easily have put away. Instead, the ball landed on the baseline and gave a mini-break back to Monfils. But all was not lost as Raonic soon got the error from Monfils to win the tiebreak 8-6.

Monfils was clearly a little rattled after losing the tiebreak, and ended up dropping serve for the first time in the match early in the second. He would have  a chance to break back in the next game, but Raonic produced a timely serve and volley play to save break point. Despite his frustrations, Monfils wasn't going away. Raonic couldn't capitalize on the opportunity to go up a double break, and soon got broken himself after missing an easy one down the line. Monfils was fired up when he won his fourth game in a row, breaking Raonic again to take the second set. The free points on serve just weren't there for Raonic, so he wasn't able to be as dominant as he had been in previous matches. The aces were rare and the first serve percentage was barely above 50 for the second set. Throw in a few errors and you can't expect to hold serve against a Top 10 player like Monfils.

Raonic seemed to settle down at the beginning of the third set. His serve was looking steadier and he wasn't overhitting his shots as much (which is what I think got him into trouble midway through the second set). Monfils was solid as well, looking more confident as the final set progressed. Milos would have another less than stellar service game and was broken when he didn't put some points away when he had the chance. Monfils backed up the break with a hold at love, and everything seemed to be going his way since the latter stages of the second set. Raonic would at least make Monfils serve it out, which he did without too much trouble.

This match was very winnable from Raonic's standpoint. For a three set match, 9 aces for Milos is a little lower than we might have expected (and hoped for). More free points off the serve certainly would have made things easier for Raonic, especially in the second set. But Monfils is not the kind of player to give up those points without a fight. Raonic was certainly able to stay in front of Monfils without running up the ace count during the first half of the match, but Gael's athleticism and overall experience would eventually turn the tide in his favour. I can't help but think of the missed opportunity with Monfils serving at 2-4. Raonic opened up the 15-30 lead and had Monfils on the ropes at the net. But when it looked like Milos had a relatively easy shot to get two break points, he completely overhit a forehand and sent it well wide. That's when Monfils won four straight games to force a third set. From there, it was hard not to like Gael's chances in the deciding set.

It was an impressive comeback by Monfils, to be sure. It's just a bit of a disappointment for us fans because it looked like Raonic had things all wrapped up before paying the price for letting Monfils back in the match late in the second set. It was a great run to the semis for Milos though, which more than makes up for the early exits we saw in the last couple of tournaments.

-multi

21Oct/11Off

Raonic continues to impress in Stockholm

Milos Raonic handily defeated Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) at the If Stockholm Open today, 7-5 6-4.

After a shaky service game to start the match, Dimitrov began to settle down and hold more comfortably. The first breaks points came with Dimitrov serving at 5-5 in the opening set. Raonic painted the line with a backhand winner to take the lead and earned the chance to serve for the set. Milos served up a couple of aces to hold at love and emphatically put the set away.

The break for Raonic came much earlier in the second set. Dimitrov didn't have an answer for Milos' booming serve, who cruised to victory with relative ease in straight sets. He didn't face any break points, and racked up 14 aces during the match. With the win, Raonic advances to his fourth semi-final of 2011. This is already a great result considering the tough first round losses in the last couple of weeks. But the run in Stockholm isn't over yet: Raonic will face either No.1 seed Gael Monfils (FRA) or No.5 seed Kevin Anderson (RSA) in the semis. That match goes later today after the other quarter from the bottom half of the draw is decided.

Update: Milos will face Gael Monfils in the second semi-final tomorrow. Sportsnet has announced that they will be streaming the semi-finals and final of the If Stockholm Open starting on Saturday at 7AM ET. You can watch it here. It should also be airing on Sportsnet ONE, not before 8:30AM ET.

-multi

19Oct/11Off

Raonic through to quarters in Stockholm

Milos Raonic advances to the quarter-finals at the If Stockholm Open with a comfortable win over Philipp Petzschner (GER) in straight sets, 6-3 6-3.

Unlike yesterday's match with Baghdatis, Raonic was able to take the lead early in the first set. Petzschner never really challenged Milos on his serve and wasn't able to find a single break point. Looking at the stats, it's easy to see why. Despite the ace count being relatively low in the first set by Raonic's standards, Milos was nearly perfect winning points off his second serve. The chances just weren't there for the German.

The first half of the second set was a bit of a stalemate. The server was holding without much difficulty, until Raonic opened up the first break points of the set with Petzschner serving at 3-3. Milos converted on his second chance took the lead once again. From there it was business as usual, relying on the first serve to keep Petzschner out of the rallies. The backhand for Raonic wasn't very consistent during the match, but he still came up with a tricky passing shot as the German was serving to stay in the match. If you were watching, you know the point I'm referring to. That shot was enough to keep Milos in the service game, which ultimately lead to him getting the second service break to win the match on a high note without having to serve it out.

This match didn't have the same tension as the previous one, as Petzschner couldn't defend against Raonic's booming serve and forehand. The German literally didn't stand a chance: he wasn't able to earn a break point at any point during the match. Milos didn't make any mistakes on his first serve in the second set, winning 100% of those points. It's a little surprising that he "only" hit 7 aces, but he was so good when landing his first serve in that it didn't really matter. This was really good stuff from Raonic, who gave a dominating performance in front of his father as he watched from the stands with Coach Blanco.

Raonic's opponent in the quarter-finals will either be Juan Ignacio Chela (ARG) or Grigor Dimitrov (BUL). Their second round match will be decided tomorrow, so it appears that Milos will have a day off before he has to play again.

It certainly looks like the headband is working for Milos. That, and the consistent indoor conditions seem to suit the Canadian perfectly. It's truly exciting to see Raonic back on form and getting the wins.

UPDATE: Milos Raonic will face Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals in Stockholm tomorrow.

-multi

18Oct/11Off

Raonic outlasts Baghdatis in Stockholm

Milos Raonic defeated 2009 Champion Marcos Baghdatis in the first round of the If Stockholm Open today, 7-6(5) 6-7(4) 6-4.

Raonic's game seemed perfectly suited to the fast and predictable indoor hardcourts. The serve was most effective when Milos had to find his way out of trouble, keeping his emotions in check while still being able to hit big. The heavy groundstrokes were certainly working for Raonic, dictating play and keeping Baghdatis on the run. Break chances were something of a rarity during the first set, with each player only able to earn one each and neither being able to convert. When it came down to a tiebreak, Raonic again had to rely on his serve to get him out of a tight spot and put the first set away.

With Baghdatis serving at 2-3 in the second, Raonic hit a perfect backhand up the line to earn to the first break points of the set. Baghdatis won four points in a row from 15-40 to keep the match break-free. Raonic continued to hit his forehands with a lot of pace, racking up the winners while keeping the errors under control. Baghdatis was applying some serious pressure with Milos serving at 5-5, but Raonic kept his cool and served his way to safety yet again. Surprise: another tiebreak! Milos got the first mini-break advantage, but Marcos got on a roll after hitting a spectacular forehand on the run when it looked like he was totally out of the point. This match was going the distance.

It wouldn't have been shocking if the match carried on without any service breaks and into a deciding tiebreak. But at 2-2 in the third, the unthinkable happened: Milos got the break. Not only did he take the lead, but he promptly followed it up with a hold at love. Truly impressive. On top of that, Raonic held at love again serving at 4-3. Raonic wasn't the greatest at the net throughout the match, but he made up for it on match point by holding his ground and using every inch of his reach to keep the ball in play and force the error from Baghdatis.

Raonic faced one break point, which came in the first set. Baghdatis saved the first four break points against him, but not the fifth. There wasn't a whole lot between the two during the match, but that break was absolutely crucial. I'm sure neither player wanted to try their luck in another tiebreak. Also, Milos hit 22 aces. He's back. It helps to be playing indoors. We may see the return of the '20+ Aces = Win' rule in this tournament.

In other news, the more astute viewer may have noticed that Milos was sporting a stylish Lacoste headband during the match. Thoughts? Perhaps more importantly, Raonic had a strip of kinesio tape running up the inside of his right leg from his knee to his thigh. This is usually just a preventative measure for muscle strains or hyper-extension.

Raonic will face Philipp Petzschner in the secound round on Wednesday. Petzschner defeated Raonic earlier this year on grass in Halle, where the German made a run to the final in front a home crowd. Look for Milos to even up the head to head record with some blistering serves on the indoor hardcourt.

-multi

15Oct/11Off

Stockholm Draw

Milos Raonic has drawn Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) in the first round of the If Stockholm Open.

Raonic has been seeded No.6 ahead of Ivan Dodig and Tommy Robredo. He is in the same half of the draw as top seed Gael Monfils and the veteran Juan Ignacio Chela. You can view the singles draw here.

Despite being seeded, Milos has still drawn a tough opponent in the first round. However, there are few easy outings when playing tournaments at this level. Baghdatis recently made the finals in Kuala Lumpur, losing to Janko Tipsarevic (SRB). He then lost to Andy Murray in the first round in Tokyo, who will be looking to defend his title in Shanghai tomorrow. Raonic and Baghdatis have yet to meet on the tour.

UPDATE: Milos Raonic will be last up on Center Court against Marcos Baghdatis on Tuesday, October 18.

Play begins at Noon local time in Stockholm, and by Tennis Canada's estimation the Raonic match may start around 2-2:30PM ET tomorrow. There is no word if Sportsnet will cover the tournament yet, but TennisTV will be streaming it so we should be able to watch it online.

-multi

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12Oct/11Off

Raonic loses to Ferrer in Shanghai

In their third meeting this year, David Ferrer defeated Milos Raonic at the Shanghai Rolex Masters in straight sets, 7-5 7-6(7).

This was actually a close match that could have easily swung in Raonic's favour. Milos had the break advantage in the first set but couldn't hold on to it. Ferrer was perfect on break points, converting both of his chances to overtake Raonic and capture the first set. It was a similar story in the second, with Raonic taking the lead and Ferrer having to fight to get back on serve. Milos even had a set point in the tiebreak but couldn't capitalize on the chance.

With Milos serving well, hitting 11 aces and not a single double fault, he had a real chance to take Ferrer to a deciding set. But the pitbull's persistence paid off in the end, as it often does.

The good news is that Milos will be playing in Stockholm next week, which is a 250-level event played indoors on a hardcourt. There he will join the likes of Juan Martin del Potro, Gael Monfils, and Robin Soderling, who is looking to make his own comeback from illness and injury. The indoor hardcourts have been kind to Raonic in the past (remember San Jose), so look for the serve to be cracking in Sweden next week. Milos may even be seeded in the Top 8 for the tournament, but we'll have to wait for the official draw to be sure.

-multi