Milos Raonic defeated Jesse Levine in straight sets at the French Open this morning, 6-4 7-5 6-2. He will meet Juan Monaco in the third round this weekend.
This match was on Court 3, which is a TV show court. Since Raonic was facing an American, the ESPN coverage (which is what we get to see on TSN here in Canada) cut to their match at the end of the second and third sets. We were able to watch as Levine basically gave a service break away at 5-5 in the second set which allowed Raonic to serve for the two set lead. Then we saw Raonic close out the match with style after a quick third set. The match stats are here.
Milos was down a break early in the match, but he was able to take care of his serve throughout the match once he got the break back. The first serve percentage wasn't anything spectacular, averaging just 55% for the match. He did, however, win the majority of those first serve points when he got them in, as is often the case. Raonic hit 16 aces against a total of eight double faults, with half of the latter coming in the first set.
This is where things will get much tougher for Milos. His opponent in the next round is the No.13 seed Juan Monaco (ARG). It's obvious that Raonic could potentially makes things easier for himself in the upcoming match if he is able to be more consistent with the first serve. Monaco defeated the big serving John Isner in the finals in Houston earlier this year, which was played on clay. That match went to three sets, and in the end Monaco was able to neutralize Isner's serve to get the win. This is by no means an easy task, especially given Isner's surprising results against the Swiss Davis Cup team on clay back in February.
The slower conditions will likely favour Monaco, who will no doubt be chasing down a lot of balls. On the other hand, a slow court gives Milos a little bit of extra time to wind up and unload on the forehand and perhaps even run around a few backhands. Either way, it's going to be a great match, especially if Raonic can bring some quality serving.
UPDATE: Milos Raonic's third round match with Juan Monaco will be the last match on Court 2 this Saturday, June 2. Full schedule here.
Raonic to focus on Singles at 2012 Olympics in London; Nestor to partner with Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil
Canada's Daniel Nestor, co-ranked #1 in the world with partner Max Mirnyi, has reportedly chosen Vasek Pospisil as his doubles partner for the upcoming 2012 Olympics in London. Apparently, it was decided that "Raonic might not be able to give as strong a commitment to doubles" given his potential in the singles competition.
Here is the a link to the article at The Record : http://www.therecord.com/sports/article/732772--nestor-to-play-doubles-with-pospisil-at-olympics
Thanks to Tomaso for letting us know when he heard the news!
Milos Raonic defeated Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo in the first round of the French Open today, 6-4 6-2 6-2. He will face American Jesse Levine in the second round later this week.
Raonic got off to a sluggish start in this match. He had to save several break points throughout the majority of the first set. The serve percentage was abysmal at both ends of the match, finishing with 50% overall. While Ramirez Hidalgo seemed to be the better player during the first set, the match turned dramatically in Raonic's favour when he got the first break of serve. He took a 5-4 lead and served out the set without any trouble. From then on, Ramirex Hidlago almost completely went away. It was all Raonic in the final two sets as he cruised to victory and was rarely challenged along the way.
Since the match was not played on a TV court, there was no way to stream it or watch it live. I had to rely on the live score tracker for updates. View the stats here.
This was Raonic's first win in the main draw at Roland Garros. He lost to Michael Berrer in the first round last year.
Milos' second round match with Jesse Levine won't be played until Wednesday at the earliest. Levine is currently ranked No. 131 and defeated Benjamin Becker in the first round, winning in straight sets. We'll have to wait until the order of play is released to see if he'll be on a show court this time.
MILOS UPDATE: Raonic is up third on Court 17 against Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo on Monday. Since this is not a TV show court, there will be no way to watch the match live, streamed or otherwise.
The draw for Roland Garros has been released and we know who Milos Raonic will be facing in the first round: Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo (ESP). He is currently ranked No. 73 in the world and has only played in clay court tournaments all year. Raonic has never faced Ramirez Hidalgo, whose latest result was a first round loss a couple of weeks ago in Bordeaux, France.
Milos could either meet Jesse Levine (USA) or Benjamin Becker (GER) in the second round. The first seed Milos could face should he get through the early rounds is Juan Monaco (13). Raonic is in Rafael Nadal's quarter of the draw, who is seeded No.2. They could meet in the fourth round, but a lot would have to go right for that to happen. Andy Murray is also in the same half as Nadal and Raonic.
Frank Dancevic and Vasek Pospisil are both in the main draw and will face Martin Klizan (SVK) and Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) respectively. They are in the opposite half of the draw with Djokovic and Federer.
On the Women's side, Stephanie Dubois will face Shahar Peer (ISR) in the first round, and Aleksandra Wozniak is still waiting for her opponent to be decided in qualifying. Heidi El Tabakh has also qualified for the main draw, making it a total of 6 Canadians in the hunt for the major singles title.
In Canada, TSN (and TSN2) will have complete coverage of the French Open starting on Sunday at 5:00 AM EST. You can find the full TV Schedule here. Since TSN will (most likely) be presenting the ESPN feed, it's hard to say if we'll get to see Raonic at all in the early rounds. Though it is possible TSN.ca could provide a live stream for Raonic's match and other matches involving Canadians.
EDIT: Vasek Pospisil takes to the court in the morning versus Roger-Vasselin at approx 6:30 EST. It is a televised court (court 2) but I'm not sure if TSN will carry many (or any?) of the extra streams online at TSN.ca as ESPN does (if not, google "tennis live streaming"). The unfortunate part is that we're stuck with those brutal American commentators again (I just watched an ESPN "preview" on TSN's website where the guy pronounced Djokovic's name wrong over and over again, but then again, he's only #1 in the world - I'd hate to hear them try to pronounce Milos' name!). --wacb
There will be no match with Rafael Nadal in the second round of the Rome Masters this week. Florian Mayer defeated Milos Raonic in straight sets today, 7-6(5) 6-4.
The first set was about as close as it could possibly get. There were no break points to speak of and the only thing separating the two was a single mini-break in the tiebreaker that went Mayer's way. The second set was a slightly different story. It was still close until the latter stages of the set, but this time we had some break point chances. Unfortunately, Milos couldn't save the one he faced and was unable to convert against Mayer. The first serve for Raonic dropped off significantly in the second which ultimately allowed Mayer into more of his service games.
So the meeting with Nadal in the second round isn't going to happen. With Raonic taking the early exit from Rome, we'll have to wait until the French Open later this month before we see him in action again. Since his ranking will be around 24 (give or take), Raonic probably won't have to face a seeded player until perhaps the third round. Of course, we'll know for sure when the draw is announced on Friday, May 25.
A disappointing loss today to Mayer today, which I guess you could call an upset since he is ranked one spot lower than Raonic.
UPDATE: Milos is just one spot outside of the Top 20 at No.21 after the new rankings were calculated today, which is a new career high! He's just 10 points behind No.20 Stanislas Wawrinka. Raonic will be Top 20 (and beyond) in no time.
Bring on the French Open!
The draw for the Rome masters is out and Milos hasn't been given any breaks. His first round opponent is Florian Mayer (GER), whom he has never faced and is currently ranked one spot lower than Raonic at No.24. But the headline here is that Milos could potentially face Rafael Nadal in the second round if he is able to defeat Mayer. It was No.3 Federer last week in Madrid, and now we could see him up against No.2 Nadal this week in Rome.
Raonic hasn't played Nadal since Tokyo last year. Their other previous meeting was also on the hardcourt in Tokyo in 2010. Nadal won boths of those matches. Given Milos' recent clay court success, I cannot think of a better test for him than Rafa. I know I'm not the only one hoping that this match gets to happen, and all Raonic has to get past Mayer in the first round.
Roger Federer barely survives his second round match with Milos Raonic at the Mutua Madrid Open, 4-6 7-5 7-6(4).
It was clear from the start that Federer was looking to test the lateral movement of Raonic, just like he did in Indian Wells. Raonic didn't waste any time making a statement in his first service game hitting three aces past Federer. The forehand from Raonic was making Federer look slow on the blue clay. On the other hand, the placement of Federer's serve was so precise, he was able to push Milos out wide and open up enough court so that he literally couldn't miss. No surprises from either player there.
The first chances came for Raonic at 4-4, taking a 0-40 lead after Federer missed an easy volley at the net. Roger then hit a forehand wide and giving Raonic the first break of the match. Milos made no mistake in serving it out. He wouldn't need a tiebreak to take a set off of Federer this time around.
Federer was in trouble straight away at the start of the second. Milos won a remarkable exchange at the net and was keeping the pressure on Roger's serve. Before the game was over, Federer had to defend against three break points to keep from falling behind. In his second service game, Milos finally lost a point on his first serve. He had won 44 straight up to that point since the start of the tournament. That's kind of ridiculous.
Raonic earned another break point with Federer serving at 5-5 and looking like he was going to hold comfortably. Had Milos been able to convert it, it surely would have been equal to a match point. Raonic had to hold to take it to a tiebreak. But Federer was coming on strong knowing he had to make a move. Raonic saved the first of two set points against him with an amazing one-handed backhand passing shot that looked rather Federer-esque. A timely dropshot would earn Federer the break and the set on his second chance. Again, Raonic vs. Federer was going to require a third set.
The opportunities continued to flow mainly in Raonic's direction in the third set. But Federer always had an answer and came up with some big serves of his own to get out of trouble. Milos soon found himself in the same position as the previous set, having to hold serve to force a tiebreak. We held our collective breath as Raonic let a shot go by him thinking it was going long, but it landed in. Always the cool customer, Raonic held it together and held serve with an ace.
Federer got the mini-break advantage on Raonic's first serve of the tiebreak. After getting back on serve, Milos gave a point away on a shot he clearly shouldn't have missed. It couldn't have come at a worse time since it gave Federer a couple match points. Roger sealed the match in style with a blistering return of serve for an outright winner. With that, the 2 hour and 13 minute epic was over.
"I felt like I was on top throughout the whole match," Raonic said. "I was there doing the right things and it was good. I will probably be more happy with the whole outcome in a few days but now is not the right time." [source: ATP]
Hopefully you were lucky enough to watch it live. This was a highly entertaining and competitive match throughout. It really should have been a semi or a final, it was definitely worthy of being one. Milos certainly had his chances and if just one more of his many break point opportunities had gone his way, Raonic would likely be celebrating his second victory of the year over a Top 4 player. Federer just got it done on the big points.
Despite the loss, we couldn't have been treated to a better match. All I have to say is: Next time, Roger...
Milos Raonic defeated David Nalbandian in straight sets at the Mutua Madrid Open, 6-4 6-4. Raonic will meet Roger Federer  in the second round.
You couldn't have asked for a better start to the match from Milos. Nalbandian wasn't serving particularly well and Raonic jumped on the opportunity to secure the early break. He was being aggressive with the forehand and it was paying off immediately. Milos backed it up by hitting a few aces and holding serve comfortably. From there it was business as usual as Raonic continued to serve well and didn't give Nalbandian any chance to get back on serve. The bombs down the T-line and the kick serve out wide were on full display today.
Nalbandian began to show some frustration in the second set, bouncing his racquet off the court after chunking a shot into the net. While Raonic was holding easily, Nalbandian had to work for his service games. Raonic earned the first break point of the second set with Nalbandian serving at 3-3, but squandered it by hitting a ball long. Milos wouldn't have to wait long for another chance however, earning another break point against Nalbandian in his next service game. This time, Nalbandian would gift it away on a double fault giving Raonic the 5-4 lead and the chance to serve for the match. There was no double fault when serving for it at 40-0 this time: Raonic put the match away with an ace and a love service game.
Playing at altitude in dry conditions certainly helped Milos hit through the court and run up the ace count. Nadal was right about the smurf clay courts being quicker and rewarding the big servers. The total ace count was 16, which is quite impressive for two sets on clay. What's more is that he didn't drop a single point when he landed his first serve in. Even though he was facing a great player in Nalbandian, this looked like a typical Raonic victory. He gave up no break point chances, and he was patient enough to wait for his opportunities to be aggressive. Raonic's serve was just impenetrable.
And his reward for a solid performance against a tough first round opponent? Raonic will have another crack at Roger Federer. Milos was able to take a set from Federer in a tiebreak at Indian Wells earlier this year, but ultimately lost the match. All these recent clay court wins over big players (Murray, Almagro, and Nalbandian) should give Raonic a tremendous amount of confidence heading into the match against Federer.
This will be a match to watch, folks. But you already knew that. One blogger is even predicting that Milos will win. It is certainly true that Federer hasn't played in a while and that he might be a little rusty starting out on the blue clay, and Raonic currently has all the smurf-claymentum on his side. It's kind of ironic considering how tall Milos is.
The draw is out for the Mutua Madrid Open and things aren't looking good for Milos. He has drawn up against David Nalbandian in the first round, and should he win he would face Roger Federer in the second. Those are the kinds of opponents you would hopefully see later in a tournament, not in the opening rounds. It will be tough for Raonic to keep the claymentum going against such tough players, but he's coming in with a lot of confidence after his semi-final result in Barcelona. Hopefully we'll see Milos make another statement on the clay.
After the performance in Barcelona, Raonic reached a career high singles ranking of No.23 in the world. This is after dropping the points he earned from reaching the semi-finals in Estoril last year.
Sportsnet ONE will have coverage of the Mutua Madrid Open starting on Monday, May 7 at 7 AM EST. It looks like they'll be reshowing matches on tape delay throughout the rest of the day, so we may able to see Raonic's match on TV. No doubt it'll be streaming online live somewhere, though.
Good luck in Madrid, Milos. You're gonna need it. But then again, who needs luck when you get to hit with the King Of Clay: