Milos Raonic lost to Jurgen Melzer today in the finals of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championship. As Reggie Barnes, Managing Director of Morgan Keegan and Company, put it when he handed Milos the runner-up trophy, "You can't win every week, Milos!"...
Here is the recap of the match, written as it progressed this afternoon.
Jurgen Melzer elected to receive upon winning the toss. Milos had a little bit of trouble putting that first game away, and at 40-30, a correct challenge from Melzer forced a second serve which Milos doubled faulted into the net to make it deuce. He followed with an ace and a forehand winner coming into the net to put away the game. Milos made 3 of 8 first serves in the game - an unusual lapse in the first game of the match. Melzer had a fairly easy service game to even it up. So far so good...
Milos stepped it up in his next service game and quickly held at love. Melzer had a pretty good service game himself to follow, though he did make a couple of errors to balance out the great serve and volleys. In the end, we're on serve at 2-2. It's apparent that Melzer's strategy of putting the first serve out wide and following up with the backhand volley across the court is a good one. Unfortunately for Melzer though, as Milos put away the 5th game he reminded us why he hasn't lost a point yet in the match where he's gotten his first serve in.
The next game was a fairly routine hold for Melzer, and Milos answered with the same, getting up to 7 aces so far and making it 4-3 in his favour. Still on serve...
Melzer continued to play the way he's been playing, going up 40-15 in the 8th game. Even on second serve he's able to put it wide enough to hit a winner on Raonic's return of serve. He wrapped up the game with an ace to make it 4-4 at match time 0:25.
Raonic continued to vary the serve, pretty much taking Melzer out of the match during the game. He held at love with 3 aces during that game, amazing. 5-4 for Raonic with Melzer to serve to stay in the set coming up at match time 0:27.
Raonic played some great defence to start, but he put a ball long before Melzer failed to make a quick drop shot, and then failed to dig one up at his feet after he came into the net. Raonic played some more great defence, obviously doing what he could to put away the set, but Melzer came out with some power to make it 30-30 and then some more great playing from Melzer to get a game point despite Milos' best defensive efforts. Both players playing their best tennis of the match here in the 10th game.
Milos made it to deuce against Melzer by hitting some power shots side to side before going down the line to beat Melzer. He had to dig a low ball in the next point though and wasn't able to get it over the net. He got beaten again by Melzer on the next point.
Raonic came into the next game after winning 18 points on serve in a row, but Melzer tried mixing it up again, aa he's tried a few times already, to throw Milos off. Milos hit his 11th ace to even it up at 15-15. Melzer is standing waaay back on the court, almost to the wall, and it seems to be having an effect as he won the next point. He guessed the wrong way on the next point after trying to mess with Milos serve by moving and bouncing. Another error by Milos into the net gave Melzer his first break pointand he was able to convert on an error by Milos into the net. Milos has been broken for the first time in the tournament - and has lost his first point on a first serve in the match. 6-5 Melzer, up a break and ready to try and serve out the set.
Melzer continued to try and get into Milos' head, which is a hard task given Milos' mental composure and discipline. Milos even tried to hush someone with his finger at his lips after losing the game... trying to keep himself from getting shaky. Melzer played some more great tennis to earn double set point, putting the first one into the net. He aced Milos out wide from the Ad court, his favourite lefty serve during the match that's working well for him, to take the set 7-5 at 0:41.
Melzer kept taking the ball early, trying to take Milos off guard, but they split the first two points of the opening game of the 2nd set. Milos hit another error past the baseline to go down 15-30 on the serve, but on his next chance he made it count, with Melzer failing to return it by putting it into the net. 30-30. Another 2nd serve by Raonic, but his ground-stroke winner attempt was precise this time, hitting the line to get a game point. After hitting a let he put away an ace to take the first game of the set.
Melzer started out of the gates fast on his first service game of the set... still very comfortable on serve. 1-1 in the second set.
Melzer, still somehow figuring out how to make those quick returns with seemingly little back-swing and warning, continued to make things a little difficult for Milos. Milos hit one just wide to make it 30-30, still having only lost one point on first serve, the point that cost him the only break of the match. His next serve was high and wide to beat Melzer, but on a 2nd serve Melzer hit the ball from his spot way behind the baseline to take the next point and make it deuce. Melzer hit a potential winner just wide on the next point though, but made up for it with a backhand into the corner to being it back to deuce. Raonic's served saved him again though, as he hit 2 aces to get to Ad and another hold to make it 2-1, still on serve.
Melzer made a couple of errors in the next game, getting a little bit of a look at 15-30. But Melzer made Milos run to dig and put it away before Milos put away an amazing return of serve to earn a break point. He did beat Milos at the net to bring it to deuce though, erasing that scare before experiencing it again on a forehand error into the net. Milos has a second chance to break. He hit a forehand long though, bringing it back to deuce. Melzer's next serve went wide though, as Milos confirmed with a challenge,then he got a 3rd break opportunity on a forehand that did paint the line in the back of Melzer's court. It went back to deuce again though, with Melzer still hitting some great shots. We got another error from Melzer though, and Milos put a passing shot by him down the line to get the break! 3-1 Raonic, 2nd set.
Milos seemed to get a bit of confidence from this... he seemed to be trying to put those extra mph on the serve and hit a great drop shot while running in and in a little bit of a hop to beat Melzer. A couple of errors brought it back to 30-30 though. Milos hit an ace though, and then hit an unreturnable serve to consolidate his break at 4-1.
Melzer held pretty quickly in the next game. Milos then hit some massive forehands to beat the ball past Melzer, but then hit a double fault and an ace.. just mixing it up a bit... Melzer hit another quick return on the next point, catching Milos flat-footed again to take the point and make it 30-30. Milos had to hit a second serve again and Melzer stood about 40 feet behind the baseline and successfully created an error by Milos. Milos saved it though with a bullet serve but then hit a double fault... Again, looks like Melzer's breaking down the mental barrier. Milos shook his head a couple of times toward his box, and then eventually gave the break back to Melzer with another seemingly simple forehand error. Back on serve in the 2nd set at 4-3 for Raonic. I don't like that head-shake...
Melzer took the next hold at love. Showing amazing confidence compared to the shrugging shoulders of Raonic. 4-4.
Melzer's quick hands let him down in the next game to start, hitting 2 errors. Some tense net play created another error though, and Milos then put away the game. 5-4 for Milos on serve, let's hope this set ends a little differently.
Milos went up 0-30 in the next game, before hitting a return into the net. Melzer seemed to be a little phased this time. He took his time to challenge an overrule by the chair umpire (when Milos had already signalled the same). He did well on the next point though. 30-30, then a double fault - giving Milos set point. His first serve was way off, but Milos hit a pretty standard backhand into the net to go to deuce. Both players are obviously tense, with shots going all over the place. Milos hit another 2 errors to lose the game and make it 5-5. The commentator then reminded us it was the 11th game in the first set where Milos lapsed to be broken. Thanks...
Milos hit his 20th ace during the game to hold at love and put that 11th game away. 6-5 Milos on serve. Let's hope that mental hardness stays now for Milos...
So Melzer steps up to serve to stay in the match, starting with an ace out wide. He missed his next serve attempt down the line though, but Milos missed the second serve, as the ball dropped before the net. Milos missed the next return as well, hitting a backhand wide. He seemed to have that shrugged shoulder look again as he hesitated to come in on a dropshot to send the set to a tiebreak decider.
Some mini-holds for the first 4 points of the match, then Milos hit a let followed by a bullet that Melzer couldn't hit back. 3-2 for Milos, on serve in the tiebreak.
Melzer held his next 2 points as well, and continued to move back and forth, bouncing up and down, to get into Milos' head and force a second serve followed by another forehand error into the net. Milos punished the next forehand though, but he's still down a mini-break.
Milos hit a forehand wide down the line to give Melzer two match points, before hitting another forehand into the net - giving Melzer the match and the Regions Morgan Keegan Championship.
So instead of Milos winning his fourth title, it's Melzer getting his fourth. It was not a great game for Milos as far as his standards go so far this year, and Melzer stepped it up just enough to capitalize on that and win 7-5, 7-6(4).
Sportsnet ONE will have live coverage of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships final between Milos Raonic and Jurgen Melzer at 4PM EST today. This is the second year in a row that Raonic has made it to the finals in Memphis, losing a thriller to Andy Roddick last year in three close sets.
Melzer eliminated the No.1 and No.3 seeds on his way to reaching the finals. He was able to defeat John Isner in straight sets, managing to best the big serving American in a 2nd set tiebreak. That quarter-final result probably has the biggest implications for setting up today's final. Melzer's return game was especially strong to start that match. Isner was only able to win 55% of the points on his first serve. If Melzer is able to give Raonic the same amount of trouble, we might expect to see a couple of breaks going the Austrian's way.
But Raonic has a different serve compared to Isner. In many ways, it's a better serve. Isner's ace count was quite low in that first set against Melzer. As long as Milos is steady to open the match, he should be able to earn enough free points to keep Melzer at bay. Time will tell, but let's hope Raonic comes out of the gate like gangbusters today!
Of the four matches Melzer has played so far, three of them have gone the distance. Raonic has yet to drop a set in the tournament. That's an impressive stat in and of itself.
This is a great opportunity for Raonic to win his third title of the year. I like his chances, but Melzer will no doubt be a tough opponent. Win or lose, Milos is having a great year so far. The only match he's lost this season was to Lleyton Hewitt at the Australian Open. Raonic also leads the ATP tour in first serve points won (84%) and break points saved (84%). Nobody wants to be on the other side of the net when Raonic is serving. The level of intimidation is only going to grow as Raonic improves in the other aspects of his game.
Good luck in the finals, Milos!
After not seeing any info anywhere on why Sportsnet has stopped their online streaming of ATP Tennis since Milos' Chennai title win earlier this year, I decided to contact them through their website:
I will post whatever reply I get.
Milos Raonic defeats Benjamin Becker, 6-4, 6-4, in Memphis at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships semi-finals. My "game-by-game" recap, written as the match progressed, follows...
Update - Match Time: 12 min
The game started with a bit of a scare, with Becker running away with the first game on his serve, and Milos going down 15-30 on his serve in the next. Milos did hold on the second game of the match, but he only made 2 first serves on 7 points in the game.
The third game showed a few unforced errors by Raonic, so Becker went up 40-15 before he made an unforced error and then suffered Milos coming into the net to go to deuce. An ace by Becker and some good play coming toward the net gave him the eventual hold though. Becker's up 2-1, still on serve in the first set.
Match Time: 0:14
Milos showed us some more of what we've been seeing on his service game. He put it away quickly at love.
Becker answered back with a fairly comfortable service game himself.
Milos answered back with a hold at 30.
Becker answered back with a good hold himself. Becker is playing surprisingly well for being in his first semi-final since 2010.
Milos answered back with a good game himself though... Pounding in a couple more aces.
At 15-15, Becker had his first double fault, which gave Raonic his first real lead on a Becker service game. The longest rally of the match followed, and Milos earned his first break point.
Becker made a similar error into the next point, giving Milos that much needed break and a chance to serve for the set at 5-4. Becker's been playing well, but, as the commentator mentioned, a momentary lapse on your serve when playing against Milos is magnified, since you know it'll be hard to get back. Milos has only been broken once in the tourney so far (yesterday versus Rochus).
Milos hammered 2 aces and a serve that Becker was ALMOST able to return. On the next point, Becker guessed the wrong way and the game that sealed the set was won without even having to get in a rally.
Becker was probably affected by the loss of a set where he kept up with his opponent so well. Milos broke Becker in the first game of the second set at love, and put away the next game quite easily.
Update at Match Time 0:48, 3:28 PM local time (Central Time)
A couple of errors by Raonic allowed Becker to take the next game, after only winning a couple of points in the first two games.
Milos showed us his impressive versatility in the next game, winning handily and in style.
Becker started the next game with some very good tennis to take the first point. He then followed up after a good rally with a good passing shot to go up 30-0. Milos pushed the next return of serve long. Becker made a couple of errors following that though, before finally winning the game on a wicked forehand.
Match Time - 1 hour
Milos sent a second serve long, but he did get the point since Becker decided not to challenge. We only knew afterwards when we got to see hawk-eye. I wonder if there's a way to see stats on how often line judges are wrong when there is no challenge...
Becker got his first point on a point where Milos made his first serve with a wicked passing forehand. He missed his next attempt at a similar forehand though to give Milos the game. Milos up a set and a break in the second set (6-4, 4-2).
Becker won the next game at love very quickly with some great serving. Again, playing very well, but those small, momentary lapses on his serve seem to have cost him an otherwise very well played game. It has to be daunting to consider how hard it is to get a break back against Milos! Rochus was able to do it yesterday, can Becker hope to do the same? 4-3 for Raonic in the second set with his serve coming up.
Becker won his second point on a Raonic first serve to start the next game, but a very good volley game Milos the next point, before he put away aces #12 and #13. His 14th ace hit Becker in the back as he was turning to avoid it. Milos takes the game to go up 5-3.
Becker did lapse again on the next game, including his 3rd double fault. Milos put a shot wide when trying to go down the line to earn a match point to make it 30-30. Milos put another one long on the next point, and then did very well to chase down a drop shot despite pushing just wide across the net. 5-4 for Milos as he gets ready to serve out the match.
Match Time: 1:15
Raonic has to hit a second serve on the first point of the 10th game of the second set, but put away a wicked inside-out forehand followed by an ace to go up 30-0. An amazing serve that Becker barely returned gave an oppourtunity to punish a forehand, which he did, and what looked to be a 15th ace turned out not to be after a successful challenge by Becker. Raonic was probably a little unsettled by this, so it's understandable that he double faulted on that point before hitting another bullet of a serve that Becker was unable to return.
Game, set, and match Raonic in 1 hr and 15 min.
19 conseutive sets, 9 consecutive games won by Milos. Melzer will need to muster up something special tomorrow to stop Raonic... looking forward to it! Canadian tennis history... can Milos, the only one to win multiple titles this year, add a third? I think yes.
Milos Raonic defeats Olivier Rochus to advance to the semi-finals of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis for a second straight year.
Update: Milos will play Becker in the semi-final, starting at 4 PM, and Jurgen Melzer awaits him in the final if he's successful.
Catch Milos #Raonic in the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships semifinals, live on Sportsnet ONE at 4 p.m. ET. today
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 25, 2012
Milos played well for most of the first set, and only needed one break to put it away. His service games were not as much of a blowout as most might have expected against Olivier Rochus in the set, but still, the closest we got got to a break was a deuce point, which Milos put away with a couple of monster serves.
The set was characterized by the power of Raonic keeping Rochus running around the baseline almost continuously. Though Rochus did very well to defend and stretch for those inside-out forehands, he didn't earn any of those critical break points that Raonic so rarely provides opportunities for. As far as I could tell, Milos was taking it easy during the match, and as far as I could tell, he hadn't broken a sweat.
Both players started with holds again in the second set, with Milos having a little of an easier time. In the fifth game though, Milos earned a double break point and, on an error by Rochus, he converted the first one to take the lead in the second set.
With Rochus serving at 3-5, it looked as if Raonic wanted to let the game go and just serve for the match in the following game...
In the next game, though, Raonic started with forehand pushed wide, a very unforced error. He then hit another unforced error on the forehand down the line. Rochus then made an awesome return on a blistering serve, followed by a wicked get to put it down the line. He picked the corner on the next point to earn the break back. For the second straight game, Milos was looking much different than what we're accustomed to seeing in the past 2 weeks.
In the following game, Rochus' level was obviously elevated, but Milos started to step it back up as well with a great forehand down the line. Rochus did hang on to hold though, and Milos had to serve to send the set to a tiebreak.
He started this endeavour by winning a couple of points after having to make second serves, then an ace at 145 mph to make it 40-0 and a second straight ace to get a tiebreak.
The tiebreak began with an unreturnable serve by Rochus. He then put a backhand slice return wide and suffered an ace to serve down 1-2. He then threw a ball into the net on a bad error where it looked like he tried to take it too soon. A winner by Milos earned him a 4-1 lead, though Rochus came back with some precise, powerful hits to get one of the mini-breaks back.
Milos served an ace to protect his 1 mini-break lead, then won another break on the next point, but missed the first match point. He finished in style with his 26th ace on a second serve in the next point though.
Milos will face the winner of the match that's already underway between Ben Becker and Lukasz Kubot. I must say that I like Milos' chances against either in the semis. If he were to advance to the final, his potential opponents are Radek Stepanek and Jurgen Melzer, who will contest their semi-final tomorrow starting at noon Eastern (11 AM local). Milos' semi-final will start at 3 PM local time, which will be 4 PM Eastern.
Sportsnet ONE will have coverage starting at 1 PM EST tomorrow for the semi-finals, so Milos' semi-final match win Benjamin Becker at 4 PM EST should be airing live.
Unfortunately, I don't see any indication of live streaming online anymore from Sportsnet. This is a real bummer.
Milos Raonic defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) in the 2nd round at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships, 6-4 6-4. The match lasted just 73 minutes.
Raonic got off to the best possible start, winning the first three points of the match to earn himself a string of break points. The single break proved to be the difference in the first set, and Milos had to save a break point to maintain the lead and put the set away. The second set played out much in the same way. Raonic got the necessary break despite Stakhovsky's best efforts to throw the Canadian a few curveballs.
It wasn't exactly a stellar performance from Milos on his serve tonight. The first serve percentage was a little low, although he only lost two points when he got his first serve in. Points won on second serve will have to improve if Raonic wants to contend for the title on Sunday.
Olivier Rochus (BEL) awaits Raonic in the quarter-finals. Rochus, currently ranked No.51, defeated Ryan Harrison and Alex Bogomolov Jr. on his way to the quarters. This will be their first meeting and the match is scheduled for Friday evening, not before 7PM CST. According to this tweet, the Raonic vs Rochus match will be shown on tape delay starting at 11PM EST:
Tennis Scheduling Change cont'd - Regions Morgan 2nd Qtr finals scheduled to be at 4 am ET tonight will now be moved earlier to 11:30 pm ET
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 24, 2012
The path to a second straight final in Memphis is looking much better for Milos Raonic.
Our 4th seed Canuck started the tournament in Memphis on the same half of the draw as 2nd-seeded Andy Roddick, 5th-seeded Alex Bolgomolov Jr., and 6th-seeded Julien Benneteau.
As we watch (around 11PM Eeastern via the score-ticker, as this round isn't televised or streaming) Milos take the first set 6-2, I'm realizing that all the seeds listed above have already been eliminated by X. Malisse, O. Rochus, and Phil Petzschner respectively.
Milos is the only seeded player left in his half of the draw.
On the other side of the draw: Bernard Tomic, the 8th seed, was defeated by Ivan Dodig, but 1st-seeded John Isner, 3rd-seeded Radek Stepanek, and 7th-seeded Kevin Anderson remain, as they were successful in their first round bouts.
UPDATE: Milos Raonic will face Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) in the 2nd round tonight. He is scheduled to play after Isner / Young, which begins at 7:00PM CST.
It's a quick turnaround for Milos Raonic after winning the SAP Open for the second year in a row on Sunday. He's in Memphis this week at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships where he was a finalist a year ago.
The draw has been released and Raonic has been seeded No.4 in the tournament. Big serving Americans John Isner and Andy Roddick are the top two seeds respectively and Radek Stepanek is in the No.3 spot. Raonic is in Andy Roddick's half of the draw which is who Milos lost to in the finals last year in a stunning three set match.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, Milos has a first round match to take care of. Raonic has drawn up against Ernests Gulbis (LAT). The two have met just once previously with the Canadian winning in straight sets on the clay in Monte Carlo. The hard court conditions clearly favour Milos this week and he is carrying a lot of momentum in to this tournament after winning his third ATP Tour title in San Jose.
Raonic's first round match is scheduled for Wednesday evening, after the Roddick vs Malisse match. There is no word yet if this match will be shown on Sportsnet, but their TV Schedule indicates their coverage begins on Sportsnet ONE at 7PM EST on Thursday, February 23rd.
(Here's a little treat from the SAP Sponsors: A look back on the week Milos had on his way to winning the SAP Open for the second year in a row.)
Milos Raonic won the SAP Open championship today, defeating Denis Istomin in straight sets, 7-6(3) 6-2. He becomes the first male player to win two titles in 2012, and is the first to win the SAP Open in back to back years since Andy Murray in 2006-2007.
The match was almost a replay of yesterday's semi-final between Milos Raonic and Ryan Harrison. The first set was tight with no breaks of serve with Milos winning convincingly in a tiebreak. In the second, Raonic got the early break and eventually broke a again to put the match away. The script was almost exactly the same. The only thing that was different was the person across the net from Raonic.
Although there were no breaks of serve in the first set, Raonic was utterly dominant in the final. There didn't seem to be any way that Istomin was going to break Milos' serve. Not many players would have been able to do so today. It was just a matter of how long Istomin could hold on to his own serve and stay with Raonic. Just like Harrison the day before, he was only able to it for one set.
— 2012 SAP Open (@SAPOpenTennis) February 20, 2012
There are all sorts of ways to break down the match, but there is a crucial stat that I think tells the story: Raonic was 44/48 for total service points won. That's right, he lost just four points on his serve throughout the entire match. Take a minute to let that sink in. It boggles the mind. If Istomin was able to string those four points together in one service game, he might have had a chance.
Not only did Milos win his third ATP Tour title today, but he has also officially become a collector of fine maple syrups. Raonic checked the math and owning more than one bottle of maple syrup means that he has become a collector.
— SAP Sponsorships (@SAPSponsors) February 20, 2012
I hope he likes pancakes. Congrats, Milos!
... can't forget that maple syrup from "the Country of Canada"!!! (click thumb for bigger pic):
Milos Raonic will have the chance to repeat as the SAP Open champion tomorrow after defeating the up and coming Ryan Harrison (USA) in straight sets, 7-6(4) 6-2. Andy Murray (GBR) was the last player to win the SAP Open in back-to-back years in 2006-2007.
—Tennis Canada (@Tennis_Canada) February 18, 2012
Given that their only previous meeting on the ATP tour ended with Harrison winning in three sets, we expected this to be a highly competitive match. Raonic and Harrison were rivals in the juniors so they know each other quite well by now. The first set was a close affair, with Harrison saving the only break point of the set. The American was serving well, hitting six aces without giving up a double fault. But Raonic was able to pull away in the tiebreak, giving him a perfect 7-0 record in breakers in San Jose. Milos hit a whopping 13 aces in the first set alone.
After taking the opening set, Raonic was able to loosen up and take more chances on the return. It paid off when he got the first break of the match early in the second set. At this point, it didn't appear as though Harrison could come up with the game to challenge Raonic on his serve. The will of Harrison had been broken and Milos was on cruise control. Roanic broke once again to win the match and put Harrison away convincingly.
Milos racked up 20 aces for the match, and he hasn't dropped a set on the way to reaching the finals. He joked after the match that he might have to become a Sharks fan after all the success he's been having in San Jose. On a more serious note, the Canadian admitted that his return of serve is the main aspect of his game that he is looking to improve. There's no doubt that he's already gotten better in that department, but there's always room for improvement. Here's what Raonic had to say after the match:
“I think I did a really good job taking care of the serve,” said the 21 year old. “What I was doing really well was making most of my first serves. But when I missed a few, I was still playing pretty well on the second serves. In the offseason, I didn’t spend too many days working on the serve. It was moreso the return of serve game. And I worked on every aspect, from the baseline to the net. I know when I have time, I try to focus a bit more on the return game and keep improving there." [source: ATP]
With Roddick out of the tournament, Raonic has a great chance to win the championship regardless of who he meets in the final. He will either face Julien Benneteau (FRA) or Denis Istomin (UZB) tomorrow, and their semi-final match will be decided later this evening. Milos has become the first male player in 2012 to reach multiple finals, winning earlier this year in Chennai. His overall record this year is 10-1 with the only loss coming against Lleyton Hewitt at the Australian Open.
Here's a picture of the fastest serve Milos hit during the match today:
— SAP Sponsorships (@SAPSponsors) February 18, 2012
Good luck in the finals, Milos! We hope you get another taste of sweet maple syrupy victory.