Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Raonic a threat

Excitement was certain in the last men's quarter final simply because Gael Monfils was one of the players.  He can do things on the tennis court that others can't and importantly this year his output is more than 15 % entertainment 85 % tennis.  He has played seriously good matches and yes the exit of Nadal has been of assistance for those in this half of the draw, but four successive wins is still a tough ask to reach a quarter final.

Milos Raonic has not lost since he arrived in Australia, defeating Federer in the Brisbane final and knocking out the other Swiss top five player Wawrinka en route to this match.  His serve is frightening when on song.

Raonic served first and it was a huge ace.  Make that two.  A long return from Monfils and three game points.  One was lost but he held comfortably for 1-0.  A forehand down the line winner gave Monfils 15-0.  Gael whinged like Andy Murray about the screen and had it turned off.  15-15 after a wayward forehand from Monfils.  A forehand return winner from Raonic and 15-30.  Good serving saved Monfils and 1-1.

15-15 after a Raonic ace.  A forehand down the line forced Monfils into error and 30-15.  Game to Raonic who led 2-1.  Monfils out rallied Raonic to lead 15-0. Then a volley winner for 30-0. Double fault for 40-30.  Deuce with a long French backhand.  Another double fault and break point.  Raonic forcing Monfils to play the backhand continually eventually drew the error and the serve was broken.  Raonic led 3-1.

30-15 Raonic after finding the net.  A winning forehand then ace and the lead was 4-1.  Ace from Monfils for 30-0.  Two clean French winners and he held for 2-4.  Big serve and 30-15 Raonic.  An easy hold for 5-2.

15-0 Monfils.  A forehand long and 15-15.  A great forehand by Monfils forcing error and 30-15.  Good serving and 5-3 to Raonic.  A serve forehand combo for 15-0 Raonic.  A fine forehand from Monfils drew an error from Raonic, but the forehand winner from Raonic made it 30-15. An ace created two set points. One was saved.  And the second also when Raonic found the net.  An ace at 227 km/h and another set point. Wasted with a long Raonic forehand.  A sharp volley for a fourth set point. A big ace sealed the deal and Raonic won the first set 6-3.

Only a forehand winner from Raonic interrupted a solid service game from Monfils to open the second set.  40-0 quickly for Raonic.  Easy hold for 1-1.  15-0 for Monfils with net skills on display.  Big serving for a love game and Monfils led 2-1.

15-0 Raonic with a forehand winner.  A Monfils backhand winner and 15-15.  A fine return by Monfils and 30-30. A huge second serve and game point.  Another and Raonic levelled 2-2.  Monfils hit a forehand down the line for 15-15.  A double fault found Monfils at 15-40.  One break point was saved as was the second.  An ace gave Monfils game point while another sealed the game to leave him in front 3-2.

Raonic serving.  Double fault and 0-15. A forehand netted by the 13th seed and 0-30.  A backhand in the net from Monfils and 15-30.  A loose Canadian forehand netted and two break points for Monfils.  A wide forehand and the break for Monfils who led 4-2.

30-0 Monfils with an ace. Double fault and 30-15.  Serve held for 5-2. Ace to Raonic 15-0. Double fault and 15-15.  40-15 with French errors.  Game to Raonic and Monfils to serve for the set at 5-3.

0-30 with a forcing backhand from Raonic.  Ace helped things. Another one and 30-30.  Forehand set up a volley winner and break point for Raonic.  Ace saved it. A great point set up by a shot played on his knees gave Monfils set point.  A fine serve and the set was with France 6-3.  A set apiece.

Set three and an overhead winner for Raonic and 15-0.  A service winner and 40-0.  Monfils with a forehand crosscourt winner brought it back to 40-15.  Raonic held for 1-0.  An athletic overhead winner from Monfils and it was 15-15 on his serve. A forehand down the line forced a Monfils error and 15-30.  An off forehand forced another French error and two break points arrived.  The break came and Raonic led 2-0.  

A wild shot from Monfils and 15-0 Raonic. A good Monfils lob produced an error and 15-15.  A delightful forehand winner from Canada for 30-15 and a forehand volley winner 40-15.  Raonic won the  game to lead 3-0.  Monfils 30-0. An ace for 40-0.  A love game and on the board trailing 1-3.  Excellent volley winner by Raonic and then an off forehand winner for 30-0.  A fine rally finished off with a Raonic overhead. 40-0.  Double fault 40-15.  A netted forehand and 40-30.  Service winner and game for a scoreline of 4-1 to Raonic.

Monfils 30-0 after Raonic was left at the net waitIng for a barrage to come.  30-30 after loose Monfils shots.  A volley winner from Monfils and a backhand reply by Raonic and deuce.  A forehand killer from Raonic and break point.  Saved.  Serve held and Raonic ahead 4-2.

30-0 Raonic with huge serving. Monfils with a forehand return winner and 30-15.  A Canadian forehand clinched the game and a 5-2 lead.  0-30 and Monfils in trouble.  15-30 with a big serve.  Great net play from Monfils and 30-30.  A top forehand from Raonic and set point.  Saved by a forehand from Monfils.  A forehand return wide and game point to Monfils.  He held serve and Raonic led 5-3 with serve to come.

0-15 Raonic with a forehand going long. A forehand winner and 15-15.  Monfils into the net and 30-15. Two set points after forcing the error.  The set was won by Raonic 6-3 and he led two sets to one.

Monfils served first in set four and held to love leading 1-0.  Raonic 40-0 with serve going well.  Game over and 1-1.  Monfils aces for 40-0.  A love game again for 2-1.  Raonic was hitting the ball so hard and making it hard for Monfils to combat.  Easy hold for 2-2.  

A super backhand from Raonic and 15-30 on Monfils serve.  A netted forehand from Raonic and 30-30.  Another great Raonic backhand pass and deuce.  Double fault and break point.  Volley winner by Raonic sealed the break and the lead 3-2.

Big serve Raonic and 30-0.  Forehand winner and 40-0.  Ace for a third love game on service and the lead 4-2.  15-15 on the Monfils serve. An ace and and return error from Raonic and 40-15.  Serve held for 3-4.  

Double fault and 0-30 for Raonic.  Forehand forcing the Monfils error and 15-30.  Service killer for 30-30.  Break point with Raonic forehand wide.  Brilliant forehand saved the break point.  A forced error from Monfils and game point.  Serve held and 5-3. 

30-0 Monfils. Service winner for 40-0.  Wild error and 40-15.  Serve held and Raonic led 5-4 serving for the match.

Return into the net 15-0 Raonic.  15-15 with Raonic finding the net.  Service winner and 30-15.  Return into the net and two match points. Forehand down the line winner is the shot that won it.

Milos Raonic defeated Gael Monfils 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4. He will face Andy Murray in the semi final and must have a good chance, especially if his serve stands up.

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