After pushing Roger Federer to the brink in Madrid, Milos Raonic has set up a possible quarter final meeting with the 16-time grand slam champion in Halle. Al Dannity examines Raonic’s dominant display in the second round to progress to the last eight.
Raonic finds that extra gear
The Milos Raonic success story from the clay court season has continued through to the grass court campaign. Wimbledon is less than two weeks away and Raonic is making the most of his brief chance to get used to the change in surfaces. After an edgy opening round battle with home favorite Philipp Petzschner, where he won 7-6 7-6, the Thornhill, Ont. player found his stride in his second outing.
Chinese qualifier Zhe Zhang was no match for the big serving Canadian as Raonic won in a rout, 6-1 6-1. The speed of Raonic’s victory over the 217th ranked Zhang was arguably the most impressive aspect of his display. Raonic took the first set in just 20 minutes and closed out the match in 52 minutes. He may have played for less than an hour but the Canadian’s game looked in tune. With that win he advances to the quarter final, to take on either Roger Federer or Florian Mayer. With five titles in Halle to his name, Federer will be expected to beat the world No. 29 and face Raonic next.
An ideal test
To be the best you’ve got to beat the best and Raonic will get another shot at shocking the greatest of all time on Friday. Assuming Federer wins through, he will set up a third career meeting with Raonic. Both of their previous encounters took place earlier this year and both saw the Canadian come within inches of shocking the world No. 3. First came Indian Wells, where Raonic took the first set before Federer fought back to win in three sets. Last month they duelled in Madrid and once again Raonic took the opening set. Federer fought back again but needed a third set tie-break to finish off his young opponent.
With their meetings on hard and clay courts both going to Federer, the Swiss master will be heavily favored to triumph on grass in Halle. Raonic however will not wilt on center stage and he has the tools to force the best out of Federer once more. An upset would do wonders for Raonic’s confidence but even a strong showing would be a boost before the eyes of the Tennis world turn to SW19 in London for Wimbledon.
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