Indian Wells 2016: Novak Djokovic vs. Milos Raonic Championship Prediction

How much has Milos grown since this match?  I think he has improved a lot, but he may need more still to dethrone Novak.

Novak Djokovic has already posted a combined  4-0 record versus Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, and Roger Federer in 2016.  Nole has won 10 of the 11 sets he has contested against his biggest rivals this year.  Rafa seems to be playing reasonably well, Murray may get a boost from fatherhood, and Roger’s knee surgery was not a major medical procedure.  Still, Novak has dominated tennis since January 2015.  Is Milos Raonic the player to challenge Nole’s dominance?

Raonic has played well in 2015, he has a huge weapon that should make him competitive in most sets he contests, and his self-belief and tactical acumen are growing.  Worse candidates for a new rival are out there, but does Milos have enough nuance in his tennis to really challenge Novak?

Milos’ Path to Victory?

  • Milos has to hold serve routinely
  • Milos has to return well, and make Novak work to hold
  • Milos has to win points off of shots other than his serve and forehand without abandoning his bread and butter game
    • This is a hard balance to achieve

Fortress Novak

Right now, Djokovic leaves such small margins for his opponents that it is hard to imagine a path to victory for Raonic.  If Novak has an off-day, particularly serving, he may make those margins wide enough for an upset to take place.  The problem for Raonic and the rest of the tour is that Novak has shown no serious signs of drop off from his 2015 form. Milos can win, but he is unlikely to do so.

My Prediction: Novak Djokovic d. Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-3

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