David Ferrer defeated Milos Raonic in two incredibly close sets at the Barcelona Open, 7-6(2) 7-6(5).
Could a match be any closer? Perhaps if it had gone to a tiebreak in the third set. Perhaps. No break points were converted during the match and both sets had to be decided in a tiebreak. Ferrer was the epitome of consistency on his serve. Raonic wasn't bad, Ferrer was just better.
"I felt I had opportunities, especially in the first set. I had no chances in the second set," assessed Raonic. "I was defending a lot of break points. I felt I did well on his serve too. In general, it's getting better day by day. It's a little bit unfortunate I had those chances, but I also created my opportunities." (Source: ATP)
Better indeed. This was an amazing run to the semis for Milos. After that disappointing loss in Monte Carlo where he looked out of sorts and frustrated, Raonic refocused and recovered from the loss in the best way possible: winning matches and scoring a huge win over the No.4 player in the world. He was almost able to pull off another major upset against Ferrer, but fell short of breaking through the Spaniard's renowned defenses.
This match will be replayed on Sportsnet ONE at 2 PM EST today.
By making the semis in Barcelona, Raonic will move into a career high ranking next week at around No. 22. The next tournament for Milos is the Mutua Madrid Open, which begins May 6. Let's keep this claymentum going!
Milos Raonic notched one of the biggest victories of his career today defeating world number 4 Andy Murray in the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open, 6-4 7-6(3).
This was nothing short of a stellar match from Raonic. The serve was highly effective, allowing Milos to come into net and put points away early. This was the strategy from the beginning. The aggressive play was necessary to keep from entering to protracted rallies with Murray. Even when he wasn't able to end the points with a quick one-two punch off the first serve, Raonic was moving so well that he had plenty of time to run around the backhand and unload on the ball. These forehands penetrated the court extremely well despite the slow conditions. Milos didn't even face a break point in the first set.
Murray adjusted his game in the second and found himself in more of Raonic's service games. While Milos had the clear advantage in the first set and was more or less dictating play, the second set went back and forth with each player getting a break of serve. Raonic did well to keep Murray from taking control of the match. The set needed to be decided with a tiebreak and took care of business behind some solid serving.
This is a huge win, obviously. Not only does it put Raonic into the semis, but it's a decisive victory over at Top 5 player in Andy Murray. Milos looked good out there on the clay. Really good. I was blown away by some of the winners Milos was hitting, all while keeping the errors to a minimum. Raonic looked like he belonged out there against Murray, who is easily the best active player who has yet to win a major tournament. Being able to take a set off Federer before ultimately losing the match was something of a milestone. This is much more. What else is there for me to say? I'll let Raonic speak for himself on this one:
"It's very, very difficult and a big plus in confidence for me," said Raonic. "Clay's not his best surface, but he consistently does well on it. Last year he reached the semi-finals at the French Open, Monte-Carlo and Rome, so he can play really well on it. For me, it was a big win, regardless of the surface." (Source: ATP)
Up next for Raonic is clay court specialist David Ferrer. The Spanish Bulldog is currently ranked No.6 in the world and has a perfect 3-0 record head-to-head against Milos. This will be an extremely tough outing for Raonic who will likely have to work even harder to break through Ferrer's return game.
Sportsnet will be replaying the Raonic v Murray match at 2PM EST today. If you missed it this morning or just want to relive the action, now's your chance. You can read more from Sportsnet here.
The Claymentum just keeps rolling on!
Milos Raonic will advance to the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open after defeating  Nicolas Almagro in straight sets, 6-3 6-3.
This was a solid performance and an impressive win from Milos. He broke Alamagro twice while saving two break points on his serve in the first set. The return game was working well for Raonic giving him the clear edge in the match. Milos protected his second serve well, losing just one point on it during the second set. Alamagro failed to save the lone break point he faced in the second set, which was all Raonic needed to secure the victory. Milos was barely challenged on his serve in the latter stages of the match. It took Raonic just 68 minutes to get the win.
This was a big win on clay against a player who was until very recently ranked No.10 in the world. But there's no time for Raonic to sit back and relax. He will face No.2 seed Andy Murray in the quarter-finals tomorrow. This will be the first time that Raonic has faced Murray. It'll be interesting to see how their games match up on the red clay.
Great stuff from Milos, and the Claymentum is building!
Milos Raonic defeated Igor Andreev in straight sets today to reach the third round of the Barcelona Open, 6-4 6-1.
This was a much more consistent performance from Milos who had a shaky start to the clay court season in Monte Carlo a couple of weeks ago. Raonic didn't hit any double faults and he didn't face a single break point during the match. Those are very promising statistics. The second set was dominated by Milos, who was frighteningly stingy on when it came to losing points on his serve.
It hasn't taken long for Raonic to get his at together on clay. But he will need all the momentum and confidence he can muster for his opponent in the third round: No.6 seed Nicolas Almagro. He is no slouch, especially on clay. We know that Milos defeated Almagro in the semis of Chennai earlier this year before going on to win the title, but the conditions were much more favourable to Raonic in that match. Hopefully Milos can keep this claymentum going.
Sportsnet ONE will have coverage of the Round of 16 starting tomorrow at 11:30 AM EST (April 26). It is not clear at this time if they'll be showing the Raonic v Almagro live.
Milos Raonic defeated Alejandro Falla at the Barcelona Open today, 6-4 7-6(3).
In the opening set, Raonic was dominant on his first serve points on the rare occasion that one landed in. He was able to avoid having to face a break point, while Falla had to defend against six during the first set. The serve wasn't quite as effective for Milos in the second, but he got the job done. Here is what he had to say about today's result:
"Today was not the greatest of days, but I'm happy to put the win together and get it right. I feel like there's a lot I can do better so I'm happy to give myself another chance in the next round. Falla is a very good player. My serve was key in getting the win."
Raonic, the No.11 seed, will face the winner of Igor Andreev and Diego Junqueira in the second round. You can view the draw here. Milos is in (2) Andy Murray's quarter of the draw and could potentially face (6) Nicolas Almagro should the seeds hold. It appears that Sportsnet will begin coverage of the Barcelona Open on Thursday, April 26 when the Round of 16 gets underway.
Albert Montanes defeated Milos Raonic in three sets in the first round of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, 6-2 3-6 6-3.
Raonic earned the first break point of the match at 1-2, but failed to convert it. During his next service game, Raonic followed up a double fault with a flurry of errors to hand Montanes the break and the lead. In typical Spanish clay courter fashion, Montanes was chasing everything down and putting nearly every ball back in play. He was certainly making Milos hit those extra shots. Raonic was looking unsure of himself and it wasn't long before Montanes secured the insurance break and served out the set with ease. Not only was Montanes playing well, but Raonic's first serve was at 50% for the set.
Raonic held to open the second set, but found himself in a bit of trouble again in his next service game after Montanes came up with some nice passing shots. Milos wasn't able to save both break points and dropped serve for the third time in the match. There was a glimmer of hope when Montanes was looking to consolidate the break and Raonic had two break points of his own at 15-40. Those chances quickly evaporated. After holding comfortably, Raonic was quickly rewarded with a 0-40 lead on Montanes next service game. It was a loose game from the Spaniard and now Milos was back in the match. From 1-3 down, Milos ran off five straight games to level the match at one set a piece.
While Raonic's serve had improved slightly during the second set, he was still struggling to start the third. He couldn't keep all that momentum going. Montanes got the break with Raonic serving at 2-3 after Milos slightly overhit a forehand that went wide. Raonic opted to change racquets before Montanes was to serve for the match. It didn't work -- Montanes held at love to win the match.
It was a disappointing loss for Raonic. The serve wasn't nearly effective enough and he made far too many forehand errors. For the majority of the match, Milos was in a funk while Montanes was flying high. It's not the most encouraging way to start off the clay court season. The ranking for Raonic will take a slight hit next week since he wasn't able to defend his R16 points from Monte Carlo last year.
Next up: Barcelona.
The Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters event is about to get underway and we will finally see Milos Roanic back in action. The draw is out and Raonic will face Albert Montanes (ESP) in the first round.
The two have yet to meet on the tour, and Montanes hasn't played much since the South American clay court swing where he failed to advance past the first round in his last three tournaments. His best result so far this year was when he reached the quarters in Chile and lost to Juan Monaca in three sets.
Should Milos get through the first round, he will have Janko Tipsarevic waiting for him. Tipsarevic is seeded No.7 and has a first round bye. As you recall, Raonic won his first title of the the year by defeating the Serbian in the finals of Chennai in three tight sets. The clay courts in Monte Carlo are a far cry from the big-serve-friendly hard courts. We'll have to wait and see if Raonic can get through Montanes first.
It looks like Sportsnet ONE will have coverage of the tournament beginning on Monday, April 16, at 4 PM EST. Not sure if they will be able to show Milos' first round match live.
UPDATE: Milos Raonic vs Albert Montanes will be the last match on Court Central after Benneteau vs Granollers today (Monday). They are currently on court and it looks like they're going to a third set. No word if the Raonic match will be live on TV, so check your favourite online streaming service!
The next Davis Cup opponent for Canada is South Africa, in September, the matchup probably occurring in Johannesburg at the Montecasino leisure and gambling centre, the former home of the South African Open.
In an effort to reduce to reduce potential injuries to line judges and ball kids, the ATP World Tour has announced that they will start penalizing players for serving over 100 mph.
Obviously, this health and safety initiative is quite a hit to Milos' game. Even though it seems to be just a trial for now...
I will post more when I find more details or if we get comments from Milos but here is the video announcement from the ATP World Tour's Youtube channel: