Another day, another dominant display by Milos Raonic. Al Dannity looks back at his win over David Nalbandian on Tuesday and previews today’s big test against Roger Federer.
Without breaking a sweat
Milos Raonic was amongst the many ATP Tour players who criticized the use of blue clay in Madrid. The different surface, which is much more slippy than traditional red clay, didn’t seem to bother the Thornhill, Ont. native on Tuesday. Raonic broke the resistance of David Nalbandian early and cruised to an easy 6-4 6-4 win against the former world #3.
At the start of the clay court season Nalbandian would have looked like a potential banana skin. After all the good work Raonic put in at the start of the year, the hope for Raonic was that he would avoid undoing most of it. Despite a poor display in Monte Carlo, the Canadian has surpassed all expectations. He was dominant in his run to the semi-finals of Barcelona, taking out world #4 Andy Murray along the way. That achievement means he is effectively playing with house money for the rest of the clay campaign. Tuesday’s win over Nalbandian will be a further boost and Raonic looks certain to enter the world top ten soon. His ascent will only be accelerated if he scores the biggest win of his career on Wednesday.
Taking on the master
What else is there to say about Roger Federer? The Swiss master has been the most dominant force in the history of Tennis and he remains amongst the elite in the game. A win over Federer in Madrid would raise Raonic’s standing to that of a real contender in this tournament. There’s no question that Federer will be favorite but you write off the Canadian at your peril.
Raonic’s forehand has become a weapon on clay, even this freaky blue stuff, and he has already pushed Federer this season. They met at the same stage in Indian Wells, with Raonic taking the first set before eventually succumbing. Raonic’s game has advanced in leaps and bounds since then, making him even more of a threat to take down Federer. The prize of victory won’t just come in the scalp he could claim, the opportunity to go deep in Madrid is nothing to sniff at. Richard Gasquet or Victor Troicki will await in the last 16 and then Raonic would face a likely quarter final with David Ferrer. It was Ferrer who ended Raonic’s miracle run in Barcelona. If the Canadian can shock Federer, he might get a shot at revenge.
Follow Sports Interaction on Twitter.