Posts Tagged ‘Milos Raonic’

[4] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs [5] Kei Nishikori (JPN)

This is a 50-50 match.  Their US Open match last year was an absolute war.  Nishikori seems poised to do what Stan did last year.  Wawrinka has momentum from Davis Cup and his title in India.  This is a fascinating match because Stan’s game at its best bullies an opponent and hits through and opponent. Nishikori wants to catch the ball early and rob an opponent of time.  So this match will be determined by how much Stan can push Kei backward.  Watch Kei’s court positioning, and you will be able to tell who is winning that segment of the match.  I am still undecided on how this match will turn out as I am typing.  Here goes: Stan Wawrinka d. Kei Nishikori 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. [8] Milos Raonic (CAN)

Milos has been quite consistent.  I think even on this surface he can hit and serve through Djokovic at times.  The problem is going to be the times that Nole is dictating play.  Novak is built for plexicushion having won 4 of the 7 Australian Opens held since the surface switched in 2008.  If Milos can return well, he can keep this match close and perhaps win.  I think Novak’s return will allow him to eventually breakthrough and take Milos down.  Novak Djokovic d. Milos Raonic 7-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2

Predicted Winners in BOLD

David Ferrer (ESP) [9] vs. Kei Nishikori (JPN) [5] – I think Ferrer will do better than he did last fall vs. Kei, but Nishikori will take control of most of the rallies and that means the match is more on his racquet than Ferrer’s.  I expect Kei to win in 4 sets.

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] vs. Gilles Muller (LUX) – This could be a bit of a trap match for Novak so don;t be shocked if he loses a set, but in a 3 out of 5 format, I can’t see Novak losing here.

Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [4] vs. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) – Nishikori and Wawrinka had a great quarterfinal match at the 2014 US Open.  Get ready for the sequel.

Feliciano Lopez (ESP) [12] vs. Milos Raonic (CAN) [8] – I keep picking against FLo and he keeps winning. I think Milos is playing exceptionally well in his return game and that should help him to advance, but a lefty serve is a new challenge.

Roger Federer collected his third career win versus his shadow Grigor Dimitrov.  I am not going to read too much into Dimitov’s one-sided loss, but at 33 Roger Federer is someone Dimitrov should press a bit more than he has to date.  Dimitrov only won 4 games in this match and is now 0-3 (0-6 in sets) versus The Fed.

History Watch

  • Roger Federer is one win away from his 1000th main tour victory.  He will join Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl as the only men to win 1000 or more matches in the Open Era.  He may join them by winning his 83rd career title.
  • Roger Feerer holds 82 career titles.  This places him 3rd behind Jimmy Connors’ 109 career titles and Ivan Lendl’s 94 career titles.  I think Connors’ mark is out of Federer’s reach.  Lendl’s mark seems like a stretch, but Roger won 5 titles last year.  A title to start 2015 may mean Federer has enough time to give serious chase to Lendl.
  • Milos Raonic, who has won 1 of his 2 most recent matches versus Federer, will have something to say about all of this.

Rankings Watch

  • Rafael Nadal did not defend the 250 points he won in Qatar last year.  Roger Federer has at least defended and may add to the 150 points he won at Brisbane last year.  To my mind Rafa is the biggest challenge to Djokovic, but the odds of Rafa surpassing Roger’s ranking prior to Wimbledon seem low.  Rafa has many points to defend between now and the conclusion of Roland Garros.  This means Djokovic and Nadal will be slatted to face off in some semifinal rounds this year.

Kei Nishikori vs. Milos Raonic 

This is sort of like George Foreman vs. Floyd Mayweather.  One player hits heavy shots and blasts away with punishing power generated by a powerful frame.  The other player generates power through exquisite timing.  In a boxing match, I would take Foreman over Mayweather because no one in boxing can give up that much weight and beat a fighter who knows what he is doing.  Fortunately for Nishikori, he does not have to fight Raonic.  He gets to play tennis.

[youtune=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITshFHF3LgI]

My Prediction: Kei Nishikori d. Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-7, 6-2.  

Andy Murray vs. Milos Raonic

Milos just reached his second ever Masters 1000 final.  Andy Murray won 3 titles after the US Open.  Oddly, both come into this match giving a vibe that they need to prove something.  Raonic leads their head-to-head series 3-1. I don’t think this data means a lot.  If Murray is playing well, he is a better player than Raonic at this stage of each man’s career.  Murray boasts a superior return game, a better backhand and a lot more feel around the court. Raonic has a superior serve and can generate a lot of power on his forehand if he has time to do so.  I appreciate Milos’ professionalism under Ljubicic.  Raonic has made a lot of obvious strides in 2014, but beating Andy Murray in London may be too tall of a task at this point.

My prediction: Murray d. Raonic 6-3, 6-4

Roger Federer vs. Milos Raonic

This match is more interesting than I would have imagined prior to Paris.  Milos beat Roger for the first time in their most recent meeting.  At Cincinnati and Wimbledon, Federer dominated Milos.  I think the match-up favors Roger in almost every category with the exceptions of service prowess and brute power on Milos’ inside-out forehand.  This surface should benefit Milos’ power game as well.

Raonic had a spot in London on the line in Paris.  Roger has won the World Tour Finals 6 times.  I think Roger will be fully rested and dialed into this match.  Therefore, I predict Roger Federer wins this match 6-3, 7-6.

Tennis Power Ranking 2014 #13

  1. Novak Djokovic – Nole looked like himself for the first time since Wimbledon.  That is bad news for the field in London.
  2. Roger Federer – Roger won Basel since the last power ranking.  He also lost to Milos Raonic in Paris despite thrashing Milos at Wimbledon and Masters Cincinnati.  Roger has played quite well since Roland Garros. London calls.

  3. Kei Nishikori - He was a semifinalist in Paris and won in Tokyo. I placed a solid line between Kei and the top two as there is a major mess outside of Roger and Nole right now.  I have Kei tentatively at #3.
  4. Andy Murray – Andy has won 3 titles since the US Open ended.  He has yet to cash in a big win vs. Novak, Roger or Rafa, but he’s playing well again.  Change since last ranking + 2
  5. Rafael Nadal – He played 1/2 of a season and could be argued to have had the second or third best year in 2014.  Rafa’s health is enigmatic, but his play is not.
  6. Milos Raonic – Milos has yet to dial in his best tennis in the biggest matches of his career, but he beat Federer and Berdych to claim the final slot in London.  Change since last ranking +3
  7. Tomas Berdych – He finished strong, especially in Stockholm, and acquitted himself well throughout 2014. Change since last ranking +3 
  8. Marin Cilic – He played well to pick up the Kremlin Cup, but skipping Paris strikes me as odd.  Change since last ranking -4
  9. David Ferrer - He did not qualify, but no one can say he did not play well down the stretch.  Change since last ranking – not ranked
  10. Stanislas Wawrinka – Stan strikes me as a player who could turn it on and be a threat in London, but his recent results have been poor by his standards.  The Swiss Davis Cup team has to hope he snaps out of it before 2014 closes. Change since last ranking -2

Biggest Mover – Marin Cilic dropped 4 spots

Dropped Out of the Poll - Gilles Simon

Entered the PollDavid Ferrer

  1. Novak Djokovic has strengthened his claim to the #1 ranking.  More importantly, he looked like himself for the first time since Wimbledon.  Nole is on the cusp of a 4th year finished at #1 and a 4th WTF.  London should be fun.
  2.  Milos Raonic shook off one-sided losses to Federer at Wimbledon and Cincinnati to secure his London spot.  Still, Milos has yet to find his better form in his biggest matches.  His two Masters 1000 finals appearances and one Grand Slam semifinal appearance have resulted in thrashings.
  3. Tomas Berdych acquitted himself well throughout 2014.
  4. Marin Cilic’ decision to not play Paris may pay off in London, but I also think David Ferrer would have had a gripe if he had passed Cilic’s ranking total.
  5. Andy Murray has rounded into form, but his one-sided losses to Nole in Beijing and Paris show that he is not at his Wimbledon 2012-Wimbledon 2013 form yet.
  6. Plus One – Caorline Wozniacki ran a great time at the New York Marathon and qualified for the Boston Marathon despite it being her first stint at that distance.  She also raised awareness and money for a good cause called Team for Kids.

Predicted Winners in BOLD

4 Heavy Weight Prize Fights Big Time Matches on Tap

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [9] vs. Andy Murray (GBR) [8] – Tsonga’s conquest of Toronto and Murray’s first round cramping make this close to a 50-50 match.  Murray even gave up a break lead in the 3rd set to let Tsonga off of the hook.  I still think Murray has more game and therefore is favored by the slightest of margins.

Kei Nishikori (JPN) [10] vs. Milos Raonic (CAN) [5] – Milos is 1-2 in his career vs. Kei, but he won their most recent match at Wimbledon.  Milos also had a better hard court summer with a win in DC and solid finishes in Toronto and Cincinnati.  Based on form and recent history, the big serving Canadian is my pick.

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) [22] – Novak needs to play better than he did in Toronto or Cincy to beat Kohlschreiber.  Evidence suggests that Nole is improving and that means he’s the favorite for this title even with a tough second week draw.

Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [3] vs. Tommy Robredo (ESP) [16] – Robredo will make Stan beat him.  If Stan is on, he should win.  Robredo’s consistency will force Stran to play at a level we have not seen from him since Wimbledon.  In picking Robredo, I am betting Stan is not sharp or not sharp for enough patches  to win this match.   

Predicted Winners in BOLD
8 A. Murray vs. M. Bachinger – Murray would like a quick win to put any concerns about cramping further behind him.
31 F. Verdasco vs. A. Kuznetsov – Verdasco is fit and had a day of rest, but I think round 1 probably took something out of him and Kuznetsov is a quality opponent.  Therefore, I am predicting a mild upset.
N. Kyrgios vs. A. Seppi – In a battle of youth versus veteran, I am leaning toward youth.
5 M. Raonic vs. P. Gojowczyk – The Canadian powerbroker should win.
16 T. Robredo vs. S. Bolelli – This is an interesting match and is well worth watching, but I think Robredo’s fitness makes the difference.
B. Coric vs.V. Estrella Burgos
23 L. Mayer vs. M. Ebden – Mayer’s grinder mentality is fun to see in person.
1 N. Djokovic vs. P. Mathieu – Mathieu is very fit and a veteran, but Novak should be in no danger.
9 J. Tsonga vs. A. Nedovyesov – The King of Toronto wins.
P. Carreno Busta vs. B. Paire
13 J. Isner vs. J. Struff – Isner and Kohlschreiber must have yet another 3rd round tilt.
10 K. Nishikori vs. P. AndujarMATCH OF THE DAY ALERT – These guys should get after it with a lot of entertaining baseline exchanges.
22 P. Kohlschreiber vs. M. Llodra – This is an interesting match, but bring on Isner.
28 G. Garcia-Lopez vs. S. Querrey – Querrey with a much needed mild upset.