Roger Federer came back from one set down to defeat Milos Raonic in the 3rd round of the BNP Paribas Open, 6(4)-7 6-2 6-4.
This was a highly anticipated match and it certainly didn't disappoint. Both Milos and Roger were on cruise control during the first set, each playing holding serve without much difficulty. Federer suffered only the slightest hiccup on his serve facing the only break point of the set. Raonic was finally able to gain the advantage in the tiebreak and successfully served out the set after getting the single minibreak.
The start of the second set saw Raonic get off to a slow start. Federer began to open up just as the effectiveness of Milos' first serve dropped off the map. From this point on, Raonic was forced to play catch-up to the great Mr. Federer who broke Milos twice during the second set. While Raonic was able to steady himself to start the third, it wasn't long before Federer would take the lead yet again. It may not have amounted to much but when Federer was serving for the match at 0-15, Raonic decided not to challenge a close call that would have been overturned in his favour. Raonic looked to be building steam for a push to get back on serve, but he let an opportunity slip away by not taking a chance on a challenge late in the match.
Raonic didn't look particularly nervous having to face perhaps the greatest player ever for the first time on a fairly big stage. He was more than able to hold his own against Federer, especially throughout the first set and the early games of the third. But Roger is still Roger. It was a great effort from Milos to push Federer to three sets and it was a real treat to watch. Raonic had his chances, but ultimately wasn't as consistent as his vastly more experienced opponent. Hopefully this isn't the last time that Milos has a crack at Roger. It might have been a different story if this was a best of five set match.
Overall it was a very strong and promising performance from Raonic. Not many players can say they won the first they ever played against Roger Federer. That's kind of a big deal in my books. It's just a shame that this was a third round match and not a quarter or semi-final.
It's a bit of an early exit, but there's another ATP Masters 1000 event just around the corner. Milos is on the players list for the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. Perhaps the draw will be a little more favourable this time.