Monday, 25 January 2016

Milos upsets Stan - match of the Open so far

2016 could well be the year that 13th seed Milos Raonic takes the step into the big league.  He already has shown that he fears Federer no more, having dismissed him in straight sets in Brisbane, and his form in reaching the fourth round in the Aus Ooen this year has been impeccable.  Today however is a different story.  He faces the big hitting Stan Wawrinka, fourth seed and 2014 winner of this major.

I believe this could be the match of the tournament to date.

A couple of aces and a couple of deuces and Stan was ahead 1-0 after holding serve.  Raonic levelled, an ace helping his cause, before two double faults were not enough to prevent Stan taking a 2-1 lead.

Raonic made it 2-2 and his serve was going to be difficult for Stan to break if he kept this consistency. Stan hit a number of forehand winners to lead 3-2, while Raonic used his backhand to great effect in making it 3-3.  Stan held comfortably for 4-3.

Raonic levelled at 4-4 and then broke Stan's serve after the fourth seed double faulted and missed with shots he'd normally make.  Serving for the set, Raonic hit winning volleys three times and won the set 6-4.

A mixture of forehand and backhand winners gave Stan the first game of set two, and he broke Raonic with a pair of winners to lead 2-0.

Serving a second time, a serve volley gave Stan 15-0.  A missed forehand by each player and 30-30. A break point after Stan found the net. The break back after a wild Swiss forehand wide of the line.  1-2 with Raonic to serve next.

Double fault then ace from Raonic 15-15.  Sweet forehand volley from the Canadian. Another ace and a forehand winner for 2-2.  Stan faced 30-30 with sound volleying from Raonic. Another winning shot at the net brought up break point.  A slashing forehand down the line saved that one, but another one came with a forced error.  A poor forehand ended in the net and Stan was broken for the second time in a row.  3-2 Raonic.

Three aces and Raonic led 4-2.  15-15 and two pretty Stan backhands assisted him to 40-15.  Milos stuffed up his final shot and Stan remained in contention in the set 3-4.  At 30-0 superb covering of the net by Raonic won him the point and it was 40-0.  A forehand winner closed out the game for the loss of a single point and the lead was 5-3.

Stan was struggling and a netted backhand made it 15-15. 30-30 with another poor Swiss forehand.  A winning return from Raonic and we had deuce.  Raonic kept the pressure on with winning shots and another break chance, this a set point, arose.  Stan hit another loose shot and Raonic won the set 6-3.

The Canadian led 6-4 6-3

Raonic held easily for 1-0 in the third set

Stan began with a forehand winner taking him to 30-0.  He had three game points but lost one after being outfoxed at the net. A backhand winner at the net won the game and Stan levelled at 1-1.  Serve volleying success for Raonic 15-0.  Two aces and 40-0.  The game was won and it was 2-1 Raonic.

A fine Swiss overhead nullified by a netted forehand and it was 30-30. A forehand return winner created break point which was well saved by Stan.  Two big serves gave him a 2-2.  Huge and varied serving from Raonic put him in front 3-2.

Stan served better and at 30-15 Raonic hit one long giving Stan two game points, only one of which he needed.  3-3.  A great lob from Stan and it was 30-15 for Raonic.  A Canadian stop volley was fantastic and produced two game points.  The second one was used perfectly and Raonic led 4-3.

Wawrinka survived a scary deuce moment and levelled at 4-4.  Raonic swiftly moved to 5-4 missing two points but never really under pressure.  A double fault was ill timed for Stan but he still had 30-15.  Games were 5-5 and Raonic to serve.  A fine return from Stan produced an error and 0-15.  A misread cost Raonic who let an easy volley go and it landed in.  A passing forehand gave Stan two break points.  An ace saved one.  Poise at the net saved the other.  A further break point was donated by Raonic with an unforced error.  The break came with an almost identical off forehand mistake.
Stan led 6-5 and served for the third set.

15-15 after a forehand pass from Raonic.  Wawrinka raced to 40-15 and now presented a far brighter persona and didn't seem resigned to a loss anymore.  He won the set 7-5 and we were heading to a fourth set, Raonic ahead two sets to one.

Stan began smartly winning the first point on the Raonic serve in set four.  15-30 with Stan playing with an inventiveness and excitement not seen for awhile. Raonic trusted his volley and had game point, but Wawrinka had come back to play and a forehand brought it to deuce.  A double fault and deuce a second time.   A third deuce was followed by a nice return creating a break point for Wawrinka.  A safe volley saved the break point.  A fifth deuce arrived, and a sixth.  The two were exchanging good shots but could not put two together. Another break point was saved with the Raonic serve. Seven deuces were visited before Raonic finally held for 1-0 and that only took about 12 minutes.

A forehand winner from Raonic for 0-15.  One even better from Stan for 15-15.  Stan had changed up his body language and was more vocal - this was something needed earlier but he certainly wasn't out of the match and levelled at 1-1.

Raonic served well for 2-1.  Wawrinka was at 30-30 and a loose forehand long gave Raonic a chance. The break was avoided with a framed shot from Raonic. A double fault presented a second break chance, saved with a winning Swiss forehand.  Wawrinka won the game with audible relief and games were 2-2.  

Raonic found danger at 15-30, Wawrinka hitting a clean winner.  Two break points came through a netted Canadian backhand.  A big serve saved one but a fine return caused an errant shot and the break came, Wawrinka now in charge of the set 3-2.

0-15 via a splendid backhand from Raonic.  No problems after that for a confident Wawrinka who was winning the ground stroke battle and led 4-2.  Raonic had 30-15 and a forehand surprise created two game points.  A volley made it 3-4.

Wawrinka was in a little bother at 15-30 and that was compounded with a double fault.  One break point was saved with a netted return.  Another poor return - long - obliterated the other break point.  Wawrinka's mistake produced a third break point but he dismissed it with a big serve.  A fourth break chance forced by a big shot from Raonic was again saved.  Another long game with huge consequence was ultimately won by Wawrinka who led 5-3.

Raonic kept his slim set four chances alive with a strong service game and forced Wawrinka to serve for a fifth set decider.  A backhand stunner and it was 30-0.  Two points later and we had a fifth set, Wawrinka taking the fourth 6-4.

Five games on serve quickly and Wawrinka to serve next.  15-15 after a backhand set up the volley put away from Raonic.  15-30 and the first concern for Wawrinka.  30-30 a wasted point from the Canadian.  A fantastic forehand passing shot found the Swiss racquet but no shot could be played and that brought it to deuce. So much fun was had at deuce they went there a few more times.  Then Raonic had break point.  On second serve he hit a shocking return wildly way out.

Another break point was produced and a missed Swiss forehand confirmed that Wawrinka had lost serve. 4-2 Raonic.  An ace nullified the lost opening point and it was 15-15.  Clever net tactics made it 30-15. Two game points with a big serve. An ace sealed a 5-2 lead and Raonic was within a breath of a quarter final.

15-15 and Wawrinka needing to hold to stay in the tournament.  A great forehand pass by Wawrinka for 30-15.  A slashing backhand down the line by Raonic for 30-30. Deuce after an exchange of errors.  Another error from Wawrinka and match point had arrived. Saved emphatically by a Swiss forehand. A brave hold of serve and Raonic would serve for the match at 5-3.

A sharp volley for 15-0.  A brilliant forehand winner for 30-0.  Three match points after a big serve. Another volley won the set and match.

Milos Raonic defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-4 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-3 and would meet Gael Monfils in the quarter finals.

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