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


Milos Raonic def. Tomas Berdych

1st Set:

Berdych had trouble serving the 1st and 3rd game, going to 0-30 in both right
off the start.  Some errors and poor serving contributed to that.
Berdych was able to come back in both games though.  Milos took care
of his serve quite easily in between.

Milos' 2nd service game was even more concincing than his first.  He
sped to 40-0, drawing an error from Berdych on a second serve to get
to 15-0, then a forehand winner and another error from Berdych to get
game point.  Berdych sent another return of serve long to even it up
at 2-2.  So far, Milos is by far the better player, as Berdych has a
shakey start to the match.  Milos didn't even have to make a 1st serve
to win that game at love...

Next game, Berdych put in a couple of errors on the forehand again,
allowing Raonic to get to 30-30.  Raonic then sent a forehand flying
high off the edge of the racquet, followed by another error on an
attempt to throw a backhand down the line.  3-2 for Berdych, on serve.

The next three service games went quickly in the servers' favour.  4-4.

Berdych got his first point in the next game on a passing shot down
the line.  It looked like Raonic thought it'd go wide, but it caught
the back of the line.  Berdych tried to do it again, this time he did
send it about a foot long, and Milos let it go appropriately.  Some
more aggressive play by Raonic forced Berdych into the net on a
forehand.  In general, up to this point, Raonic looks to be more
aggressive, which has been helping him.  A bad call by the line judge
brought it back to 30-30 though, not sure what the ump said, but I
think he just didn't say anything.  It's a shame, you could almost see
in the line judges face that she knew she made a mistake, but it was
too late.  An awesome defensive shot followed by an amazing run across
the court for a passing shot down the line gave Raonic break point,
before outlasting Berdych in a baseline rally, which Berdych sending a
forehand into the net. 5-4 Raonic, up a break, ready to serve out the

Raonic went up 15-0, but then put a routine forehand into the net,
perhaps to create suspense as he's done in the final game of many sets
recently I've noticed.  He did it again though, down 15-30...  But
then, like so many times before, an ace down the line when he needed
it most gets him out of trouble.  30-30.  Powering through Berdych on
a baseline rally side to side, the next two points went Raonic's way.

1st set to Milos Raonic.

2nd set:

Berdych won his service game to start, but not terribly easily.

Milos returned the favour though, going down 0-30 to start his first
service game of the set.  A forehand off the tape and out made it
0-40, and we can really use one of those aces...  First serve went
into the net, then an aggressive approach on the net following a shot
that wasn't really good enough to do so.  Berdych put a shot across
the court in front of Milos as he scrambled to cover the line...
Berdych up a break.  A quick, easy hold to follow consolidated.
Milos' forehands are not doing him well now.  3-0 Berdych, Milos to

Milos went down quickly again, looking shakey and unsure.
Unfortunately for us Milos fans, Berdych has "rediscovered his Mojo"
and has triple break point very quickly.  An error from Berdych saves
the first one, a couple of powerful serves forcing defensive shots
which were easily pounded away saved the next two.  An ace gave hom
adv, then he pounded another serve down the middle which Berdych was
unable to keep in the court on the return.  How quickly can momentum
change in a match!  Milos shows us that amazing competitive spirit and
composure to rally for being down 0-40 in that one!

Still up a break, Berdych serves at 3-1.  They split the first 2
points, but Milos wasn't able to put a few shots where he wanted them.
Berdych won the game almost completely on unforced errors by Raonic.
Unforced errors from his racquet almost cost him the game too though,
it was a close game.  Still down a break, Milos serves at 1-4.

Pushing Berdych side to side, Raonic draws an error on the first
point.  A 2nd serve ace gave him the next point.  Then a first serve
ace followed by ANOTHER 2nd serve ace put away the game.

Berdych serving, up 4-2.  15-0 for Berdych, and the chair ump was able
to muster up the courage for an over-rule, they replayed the point and
Berdych went up 30-15.  Raonic put a rtn of 2nd serve into the net,
Berdych up 40-0.  An error (barely wide) by Berdych gave Milos his
first point of the game, but he sent the next rtn of serve long, 5-2

It started out as a routine hold, up 30-0 on an ace and an
unreturnable serve... but somehow Milos lost his "mojo" and Berdych's
came back again...  Raonic put one into the net, unforced, then
Berdych hit an amazing forehand winner across the court from his
forehand.  Berdych got break point on a forehand sent wide by Raonic,
and Milos double-faulted away the set.

3rd set:

Berdych won the first game of the 3rd set in routine fashion.  It
looked as if Berdych had his second (third?) wind.  Milos has his work
cut out for him in this set for sure.  He will need to play at his top
level to keep up with Berdych playing like that.

Next game: Milos draws an error from Berdych, who sends a forehand
wide.  Next: a serve that Berdych got a racquet on, but couldn't put
it in the right direction.  Raonic made a statement with his next
serve as well, a clean ace.  A dbl fault followed (though both looked
very close to me!); not to worry, a big ace out wide put the game
away. 1-1.

Berdych put his first point into the net, completely unforced, but
facing Raonic who was charging for the net.  He dbl faulted again,
giving Milos an opportunity at 0-30.  His next 2nd serve was very slow
though, perhaps that was the cause of Milos' forehand going long.
Another unforced error, this time on a clumsy backhand near the net,
gave Milos dbl brk point.  The first rtn of serve went long, but some
awesome rallying on the baseline from Raonic, forcing a defensive lob
from Berdych to the back of the court, gave Milos an opportunity to
smash...  Berdych didn't have a chance on the powerful shot to the
corner from Milos.  First break of the 3rd set goes our way!

Wow.  A quick hold at love, no rallies required, puts Milos up a
seemingly solid 3-1.  I hope Stan Wawrinka is watching this!  The way
Milos has out-powered Berdych for most of the match must be

The next game was tricky.  Berdych seemed off to a good start, showing
Milos that he too could hit aces, and Milos put a couple of forehands
long.  40-0 for Berdych on his serve.  But here's the tricky part:
Milos answered with a passing forehand as Berdych moved toward the net
on the next point, he made a great move to the net on the next point,
beating Berdych again, forcing an error, and Berdych's second serve
was sent whizzing by him to go to deuce.  Berdych sent a backhand wide
on the next point, giving adv. To Raonic.  A well placed serve down
the line that Milos wasn't able to return brought it back to deuce,
but Milos won the next point on a long forehand from Berdych.  He
saved that break point with another ace (2 of Berdych's 4 aces so far
hit in this game).  Berdych won the next rally coming into the net,
and Milos put a backhand long and Berdych escapes...  Milos to serve,
still up a break.

Next hold was easy for Milos, and he then got up to triple break point
against Berdych, including a dbl fault.  He aced the first brk point
away, and another 2nd serve that he slowed down considerably beat
Raonic again, with an error into the net on the return of serve.
Berdych then made a mess of a seemingly easy volley with Milos at the
back of the court, not making it over.  Milos up another break.  5-2
with an opportunity to serve it out.  Milos let out a little yell when
he got that break, a rare but welcome show of emotion during the
match.  Surely this match is all put away now!

A SECOND SERVE ACE gave Milos the first point, a blazing first serve
ace gave him the second one.  30-0.  He sent a forehand just wide on
the next rally though, but followed up with an ace down the line, 20
ACES so far.  Another blazing serve that Berdych couldn't return gave
hime the match.  Wow!

Final thoughts:

If anyone didn't think Milos deserved to be in the QF last week in Toronto, after getting a walkover from Andy Murray, I think they've just been silenced!  Milos put in a solid performance, his 7th win over a top 10 player (how many other young up-and-comers can say that?), and there's no signs of slowing down.  Wawrinka should be worried a little bit, I think his biggest challenge of the tournament will come tomorrow versus Raonic!

I will tweet from @MilosRaonicBlog when I know what court and time we can expect to see the Raonic / Wawrinka match.  It doesn't look like Sportsnet showed it today unfortunately, judging by the tweets I received.  If anyone saw it aired anywhere, let us know with a comment.  Thanks!

Some important info:

From CincyProTennis' Youtube Channel:

Pics from @CincyTennis:



Raonic def. Baghdatis. Next up: Thomas Berdych

Raonic def. Baghdatis


I didn't catch the first half of Milos' match today against Marcos Baghdatis.  He lost to a tiebreak in the first set, but a single break in each of the second and third sets sealed it for Raonic at 6(6)-7, 6-3, 6-4.  Milos did win 6 games in each set, and saved 6 (of 6) break points.  Though I didn't see it, I imagine from the scoreline that the 1st set tie-break was also close.

I mentioned that Milos saved 6 (of 6) break points.  It's the "get out of jail free card", that ability to serve an ace when he needs it most (like, say, the 2nd serve ace he served today) that keeps popping out as the key to victory in a sport where the ability to come up with the big points under big pressure can mean more than an hour of beating around the baseline.  How frustrating it must be for opponents in those situations, to have an opportunity to break the best server in the game, then see it helplessly slip away.

Baghdatis did well to keep the scoreline where it was, considering he was only able to make about a third of his first serves.  Milos was able to make two thirds of his, which is about the threshold where any lower gets us worrying.

Highlight Video




From me (WACB):

While the service games on both sides were generally quick in favour of the server, Milos, as I mentioned, was able to dissolve Marcos' chances quickly (all 6 of them), while he was able to capitalize on 2 of 3 of his chances to break.  This is another tell-tale sign of champions in this sport, the ability to ramp up your game when those opportunities present themselves.  It is the type of thing we see players like Federer do, going through a match back and forth on serve until an opportunity presents itself or is created, and then having the skill and confidence to be more aggressive, and step up the play to convert.  Milos showed these champion-like qualities today from my perspecive.

From Tomaso:

Yes, tougher than expected: another character-builder for Milos, as well as a nail-biter for fans! Baghdatis came out full-bore, and Milos seemed shaky to begin with. But he maintained composure (as usual!) and got himself back on form for the come-from-behind victory. Still on track for 16-seed at US Open, fingers crossed.

From TOM:

I agree Robert regarding Milos’s performance at home.He will perform better next time.
I did predict Milos would make his move at Cincy and US OPEN so again hope I’m right.

From Robert:

Magnificent ! That’s a good victory by Milos ! His defeat in Canada was due to the pressure playing home. He shows there he is better than Isner who was beaten by Gasquet. Congrats Milos !

---was there REALLY any doubt that he was better than Isner???

From multi:

NOTHING.  On that note, I thought it was interesting that when I went to the page just now, that it showed this:

... down in the "1,328,740 People like ATP World Tour" section.  I don't have a facebook account in any form and I never have, I'm not logged in to web-based email, this site's twitter, my Masters 1000 fantasy draw account, etc. right now, so I'm taking this as a coincedence.  There's about a 1 in 132,000 chance that I will see him as one of the randomly selected faces from all over the world each time I visit, and this time he popped up.

I believe it's a sign.  The "multi" who used to post on this site has been too busy with the Olympics and has apparently lost his way...  He's a much better writer than I am, so if you want him back, leave a comment to that effect and I will make sure he gets the message!

Up next: Tomas Berdych

Milos has never faced Berdych before on tour.  With Tomas' style of play, I think Milos will have some trouble.  Tomas is big and powerful too, and has a lot of experience playing at that level, having been around a bit longer than Milos and playing Grand Slam finals and all that...

The good news is that if Raonic survives Berdych tomorrow, he'll be up against Stan Wawrinka instead of David Ferrer.  Stan won today in straight sets surprisingly easily.  Given Milos' record against Ferrer (lost 4/4, twice on hard courts and twice on clay), I like his potential versus Wawrinka or Nishikori much better.  Though he's never met either on tour, Milos now outranks both and would be the favourite in either case.  Nishikori and Wawrinka will play on Court 3 tomorrow, not before 2:30pm EDT, the Raonic/Berdych matchup will follow directly afterward on Court 3, with the winners of these matches playing each other in the QF.  (note: I watched Federer v. Bogomolov Jr. today, and Federer is definitely on track to play well enough to be in that eventual semi-final for the top half of the draw!)

Though it's on Court 3, it looks like the match will happen during the supper break between the afternoon and evening sessions, so the Grandstand and Centre Court will probably be empty.  This is promising for coverage from Sportsnet, who's airing the tournament most of the day tomorrow on Sportsnet ONE. ( )

Of course, you can always just follow me on twitter at @MilosRaonicBlog (link), I'm hoping to be home from work tomorrow in time to watch it and if so, I'll keep you all updated!

Here's a little treat posted on the tournament's Youtube channel (what are the chances that we'd pick the same mixed doubles partner?):



1st Round – Milos v. Troicki, Aug 7th, Rogers Cup 2012 (+ pics and 2nd round preview)

The Match

Milos did not disappoint last night.  In front of a huge crowd of loud, proud, and cheerful fans, Milos put away Viktor Troicki in a routine fashion, final score 6-3, 6-4.



Milos hitting an ace is a majestic thing to watch from the stands.  It's very hard to track from the side of the court, I can't imagine having track it down to return it all, let alone in such a way as to avoid a smash or volley winner on the next shot!  Though the serve speed read 231, 232 kmph at times, it seemed faster that from where I was sitting...

Nobody cheered more on those 7 aces than these gals.  They were up in the North-East 300-level "Fan-Zone":

Aces sitting...

Aces sitting...

Aces up and cheering!

Aces up and cheering!


Feel free to share/use these photos.  Click on the thumbnail to see a bigger version, and the high-res version is accessible from these as well.


Post-match interview

Milos shows off why it's so easy to be a fan of his during the post match interview.  He talks about the Olympics experience, the marathon match against Tsonga, and what's he's learned from it that he brings to this year's Rogers Cup.

What I like about Milos' interaction with the press is that it seems like he actually says meaningful things and that he seems sincere in his responses.

Up Next

Milos Raonic and Viktor Troicki will be taking on del Potro and Stepanek in doubles action on Court 1 in a few minutes.  Oddly, both teams are made up of players who met each other in the 2nd round of singles play!  In the latter case, Stepanek just defeated del Potro in straight sets, 7-6(2), 6-4.

Milos will be taking on the winner of the [2]Murray/[Q]Cipolla match in the 3rd round of singles play, to be decided in a few hours.  Hopefully this recently-awarded Olympic gold-medalist fares better than the bronze-medalist did this morning!  Either way, both players have every right to be tired after their performances last week.

Congrats and thanks again to all those who went deep in the London 2012 Olympics tournament and still came to see us fans in Canada!



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.



Raonic Rolls Into Third Round at Roland Garros

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 Notches First Ever Main Draw Win at Roland Garros

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.



Raonic loses to Mayer

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!



Raonic Pushes Federer to the Limit

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...



Raonic to face Federer in Madrid

Milos Raonic defeated David Nalbandian in straight sets at the Mutua Madrid Open, 6-4  6-4. Raonic will meet Roger Federer [3] 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.



Ferrer Ends Raonic’s Barcelona Run

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!