Andy Murray vs. Milos Raonic
Andy Murray’s 2012 Wimbledon runner-up finish, his 2012 gold medal victory on that same court, and his 2013 Wimbledon triumph garnered a lot of attention. The 2016 Wimbledon final carries little of that historical baggage. A second Murray title would be significant in the UK, but this match can be more about the present rather than the past. This should be good for both Andy Murray and Milos Raonic. Murray will have less pressure. Raonic will not have to worry about facing rabidly jingoistic crowd.
The Steady Climb of Milos
Milos Raonic possesses one of the 5 best serves in men’s tennis. Milos’ serve is the basis of his game. In his time on tour, Milos has worked hard at incrementally improving through hard work. Raonic’s forehand and net play are obviously stronger than they were earlier in his pro career. His fitness and movement have improved as well. Raonic has exhibited strategic and tactical growth. Raonic has recently begun to unleash a bit more on his second serves and manage sets in a similar manner to Pete Sampras’ hold and wait for an opening approach. Raonic won Brisbane and pushed Andy Murray to 5 sets in the Australian Open semifinal. At Queen’s Club, Milos again pushed Andy Murray hard before coming up short. Will the third time be the charm for Milos vs. Andy in 2016?
Andy Murray’s 5 Consecutive Tournament Finals
Andy Murray is in the middle of one of the best stretches of his career. Andy lost the final of the Madrid Masters in 3 sets to Novak Djokovic. He avenged his Madrid loss with a straight set win over Djokovic in the final of the Rome Masters event. At Roland Garros, Andy Murray lost in 4 sets to Novak Djokovic in the championship match. As mentioned, Andy Murray defeated Milos Raonic in 3 sets to take the title. Now, Murray is in his fifth consecutive tournament final by virtue of winning 6 matches at Wimbledon. This 5 tournament stretch has resulted in at least 4500 ranking points for Andy Murray. A victory over Raonic will lead to Murray earning 5300 points across these 5 events. This would create a real race with Novak Djokovic for finishing 2016 as the #1 ranked player.
What Will Likely Happen
I don’t see this match as presenting a lot of surprises. Andy Murray’s strong return of serve will be pitted against Milos Raonic’s massive serve. Conversely, Murray will need to take great care of his own serve due to a single break being enough for Milos to win a given set. Raonic will need to finish points at the net when he puts Murray into a defensive position. This is so because the Canadian will undoubtedly lose valuable points if he only tries to win points off of his ground strokes after hurting Murray during a rally.
Keys to winning will involve the following:
- How well Raonic finishes points after gaining an upper hand
- How well Murray dictates play preventing Milos from setting the entire agenda for the match
- How well Raonic handles being in his first major final
- How well Murray hits his second serve
- How big Raonic hits his second serve
My head is pretty clearly picking Murray to win. My gut says this is close to a 50-50 match.
Andy Murray d. Milos Raonic 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5
Confidence in my pick – moderate