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


Raonic v Monaco Goes The Distance

Juan Monaco defeated Milos Roanic in a grueling five set match at Roland Garros today, 6(5)-7 6-3 6(5)-7 6-3 6-4.

The first set saw no service breaks, with Monaco failing to convert his two chances. Milos didn't have any thanks to Monaco's steady serving and high first serve percentage. The hour long set required a tiebreak which could have gone either way after a couple of minibreaks were traded back and forth. Milos showed some finesse at the net when earning his third minibreak, allowing him to serve out the set with a nice one-two punch.

It was Monaco who would strike first in the second. Milos had a poor game serving at 2-3 and gave the break away with some ugly unforced errors.  Monaco would eventually need five set points to level the match at a set a piece, having to save a break point while serving for it at 5-3.

Things weren't any better for Raonic to start the third. The errors continued to mount, and he had to save a break point in each of his first two service games. Milos finally found some rhythm in his third service game and was able to hold to love twice in a row. With Monaco serving at 4-5, Raonic found himself with a several set points. There was some confusion about a point at 30-40 where Monaco's shot was called out and the umpire left his chair to check the mark. It was then called in, but apparently the previous shot from Raonic had been called out. At least that's what I managed to get from the exchange. Either way, another tiebreak was needed.

Milos continued to look good at the net, and while his first serve percentage was still very low he only lost a single point on his first serve (and that happened during the tiebreak). Raonic surrendered his early lead, but came up with the goods later in the breaker. He took it 7-5, just like the first set.

After looking like he was going to drop serve to start the third, Monaco got the break and a 2-0 lead after Raonic's first service game. All indications pointed to this match going to a fifth set. And that's exactly what happened.

It was around this point that Raonic began to grunt when hitting his shots. Perhaps he was getting a little tired as the match turned 4 hours old. It's just not something we hear very often coming from Raonic. He had a difficult time holding in his first service game, having to save five break points to avoid falling behind. Monaco kept applying pressure and came up with a huge winner after sprinting across the court to return a drop shot that Milos left hanging. Again, it was Monaco who got the break and lead. If the previous four sets were any indication, it was unlikely that Milos would get back on serve. Monaco wasn't letting up and was giving nothing away on his serve. He made no mistake closing out the match.

The match lasted 4h33min. The stats are here.

Overall, Juan Monaco showed his clay court quality and was more consistent than Raonic. Milos failed to convert a single break point opportunity throughout the match, of which he had eight. He hit a lot of winners, but made an unhealthy amount of errors. This was just a tough and very close match that obviously took a lot out of Raonic. It was a great effort from Milos, but Monaco proved why he is one of the best clay court players currently on the tour.

Making the third round is a nice improvement over last year's French Open result for Raonic. He lost in the first round last year, which was a bit of a disappointment. The clay court season has had some pretty big ups and downs for Milos this year. There's no question that he looked much better on the clay this time around. Now things will swing over to the grass with the tournament in Halle, Germany.


Posted by multiformous

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  1. Milos is scheduled this Monday vs Philipp Petzschner, at Halle tournament, on Central Court. He plays last. Go Milos ! All your fans are with you !!!

  2. I am sure you will give us your appreciation on the draw in Halle. On first round, Milos will play against Philipp Petzschner who is currently ranked 93, but has been 35. Though on paper, Milos is a better player, I would be cautious with the German player who has a strong serve and a good play at the net. Still, I feel confident for Milos, especially on grass. At last, grass season is there, genuine lawn-tennis !

  3. It is interesting to read the comments. They show our expectations for the kid, because we all love him. Now he was the youngest player still on court (even younger, by 2 weeks, than Goffin). Where are Dolgopolov, Dimitrov, Tomic, Harrison, supposed to be his competitors of the new generation ? Give him time. Did we just notice it is the longest match ever played by Milos in his life ? And against a clay specialist, with a lot of experience behind him ?

    We all know Milos’ first serves were not working well. Did he surrender ? No, he went to the net and was very succesfull in doing so. More and more, Milos is improving at the net and it will be a great asset on faster courts. May be he should have been more (as Tennis Fan suggest) ? He did not rush to the net when frightened to lose the game. Not so easy to do it. It’s like a gamble in a way. Common wisdom is just to keep the ball in where, may be, he should have attacked a bit more (agree with Tomaso on that).

    Now for defense, on Monaco’s serves. Easy to say he should have been more in front. Milos is not Djokovic. And, as Isner, he needs a little time to react. Being on clay, he tried not to finish the points too quickly. Perfect Spanish school, probably tought by Galo Blanco. The problem is he had Monaco and no more Levine, in front of him and the guy was almost born on clay. He can play for hours that way. I maintain Raonic is not keen on long rallies. He gets nervous after a while. What then to do ? On clay ? Rush to the net : not so easy with Monaco. Attack from the baseline, that’s what he did and it didn’t prove all that succesfull.

    I’d like to end by 2 points :
    1- In 3 sets, Milos would have been the winner (presumably). Would the comments be the same ?
    2- Step by step, Milos improves each time. From last year, he no more surrenders till the end, even with an adverse scoring. No 6-0 or 6-1 against him. In the past, he did surrender when the score was against him. But just give him time to get further and also accept that, to my mind, Milos will always be more at ease on hard court than on clay.

    PS : When I say Milos gets bored on long rallies, I should have said I ! On that, Tennis Fan is right !

    • I guess we’re the ones who are impatient and just want him to make a deep run at a major as soon as possible! Also, I forgot to mention that this was Raonic’s first 5-set match at a major (he had a 5-set in Davis Cup once, I believe). So yes, staying with Monaco on clay for that long is truly a feat in and of itself.

  4. Can someone get a message to Milos that his game strategy today was badly flawed. He has incredible weapons on the serve and can hit power to both sides of the court. Why was he standing so back from the baseline today?

    Milos is a definite top three potential but he has to learn to be more aggressive on the court. He was standing way too far back trying to play baseline tennis with a baseline specialist. We all know that clay is more difficult for a power player because the clay slows the speed of the ball through the court and makes the ball bounce higher, but Raonic was so far back that he was having to run great distances side to side to reach the ball and most of his errors were into the bottom of the net. I would much rather see Milos hit the ball too long than too short when making an error. I disagree with those here that say that Milos was impatient while playing on clay, in fact the opposite, I think he was much too passive and much too patient. If he had stood three feet closer to the baseline instead of back near the wall he would have had to run as much and he would have had far fewer balls hitting the middle to lower part of the net on returns. His game should be more like a Robin Soderlings than a Ferrer’s. What was the coach thinking?

    This guy is an elite power player that should be positioning and play like one. Milos Raonic I have watched you play and I know you can be one of the elite top 3, now you have to take the steps to play like a top three. Play the power game you were blessed with and get rid of any coach that has you playing a baseline passive game.

    • I understand where you are coming from, Tennis Fan, but I am going to have to respectfully disagree — mostly, anyway. Yes, he was playing too far back, should have been closer to the baseline, pushing forward and coming to the net more often. But he was not the only guy on the court today: Pico, the third-best receiver on tour, brought his “A” game today — which pushed Milos back; and still Milos came to the net almost twice as often as Monaco, and with a better success rate! Meanwhile Milos, with the best service game on tour, was trying to survive while firing blanks on his best weapon — 54% of first serves in is “not a good day at the office” for Milos. And yes, too bad about the 5 double-faults, on the way to 26 (!) aces. Too passive? I don’t think so, not with 73 winners, more than twice as many as Monaco; of course he had 88 unforced errors to go along with them — that’s 161 shots where he was going for the gusto. Unfortunately, today he was missing too many of those shots: usually his ratio is 3 winners for every 2 errors, not the reverse, like today. Given the steady improvement we’ve seen from Milos over the last year, I would hesitate to counsel him to do anything but keep doing what he’s been doing: try to make every first serve an ace; try to make every rally shot a winner. Don’t worry too much about the double-faults and the unforced errors; that’s the price of playing a positive, aggressive game. [But yes, do move up a bit, okay? And we love to see you at the net!]

      • Great points, Tomaso. Milos was still being aggressive, just from mostly behind the baseline. I would agree that he was a little too far back at times (thanks to Monaco’s excellent return game) and that it might have been a good idea to attack the net more often. The first serve could have been better, but he was still very good when he got the serve in. That’s usually the case with Raonic.

        The unforced error count looks ugly, but that’s how you know he’s going for it and looking to win the points outright. That’s where my comment about “patience” comes in. Sometimes it might serve him well to be a little more patient and work the point, but that isn’t really his style and it may not suit him. It works much better on grass and hard courts.

  5. Why I enjoy watching tennis: 5th set, second game, Monaco is serving, 15-30; ball is called OUT, which would give Milos two break points, 15-40 — a potential turning point in the match. But Milos was closer to the ball than the linesperson, and knows it was in. He comes up to the mark just on the line, draws a mark in the clay to show it was in, and the umpire calls it 30-30. Later in the match Milos hits an ace, but it’s called out — same linesperson? — anyway, Milos comes up to the net to take a closer look: then looked at Monaco, not the umpire. Monaco confirms with his hand that the ball was in, and the umpire calls first serve — not as crucial as the second game (which Milos went on to lose, by the way) but the same level of honesty. Milos and “Pico” are not the only tennis players to show this kind of sportsmanship; we’ve seen it more than once from Federer and Nadal. But I’m proud to see this from “our” Milos Raonic. A disappointing loss for Milos today, but we’ll be seeing more of him, I’m sure; and I’m equally sure he’ll continue to do us proud. [Cross-posted to Globe and Mail.]

    • Thanks for this post ! This is also why I enjoy tennis ! The best example of this sportsmanship is Von Cramm at the Davis Cup before the war (easily found on the net) ! Wilander is another example in the Open Era precisely at Roland Garros ! The examples you give explain why Federer is not fond of hawk-eye. These attitudes would not exist anymore in the world of tennis. Milos is also so gentlemanlike (I don’t find better words) at the end of the match ! I noticed you post sometimes to Globe and Mail under Tomaso as I do under Robert. We can be proud of Milos so much, and you more as he is Canadian !

  6. Thank you for such a quick report. I saw only part of the match, but was impressed with Milos fighting so hard to the end of it. He had a large support from the crowd that even went on shouting “Milos” in the last game he won.

    I thought it was a great achievment for Milos though he lost. It is as a first experience of a long grand slam event. His first serve was a little disappointing, but then he had to go to the net to make the point and had some really great points there. He is so much an attacker as Sampras he admired when a boy. For most people, it was good to see he is not only a tremendous server.

    Obviously, despite all the Spanish training of Galo Blanco, he gets bored with long rallies on clay and had often to give the point to Monaco who was born out of clay, so to speak ! But it is very difficult to attack on the opponent’s serve, at least on clay.

    Overall this match is really full of promise for the future and was very interesting to watch. Now Milos is going to play on a much better surface for his tennis style : grass ! I hope he does well. Go Milos !

    • There are a lot of folks who think Milos should be at the net more often looking to end the points more quickly. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing it, it seemed to work most of the time today.

      I think he’s a little impatient on the slower clay, too. This feeds right into Monaco’s playing style as he can run around all day and hit returns (like Ferrer or Nadal, any true clay courter). No wonder he did so well on the fast blue clay!

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