Thursday, 19 January 2017

Raonic beats Muller

Milos Raonic faced Gilles Muller, the Luxembourg veteran who after 17 years on the tour finally won a title in Sydney last week.  The third seed Canadian finished off Dustin Brown in a three set exhibition of top serving and he began in similar vein with his opening service game against Muller.
Muller made it to the second round with a win over Taylor Fritz, and today he began with a convincing service game to level at 1–1.

Raonic was ruthless in the next three games, barely raising a drop of perspiration in holding two service games, and in between rattling off a series of winners to shatter the Muller serve.
4-1 in a mere 11 minutes.  Already 4 aces and 9 winners to the third seed.

Muller virtually replayed his opening effort from the line, giving up a solitary point as he clawed back one game to trail 2-4.
Raonic missed with his first serve for all but the last point of game seven, but it didn't matter - the only point he lost was due to a double fault.

Raonic had two set points on Muller's next serve, which both were saved.  As was a third, and Muller ended up holding for 3-5.
Didn't worry Milos much as he pounded down some more aces and won the set 6-3 in just 25 minutes.

Things moved a bit slower in set two with Muller looking more assured on serve through eight games than Raonic.  In fact Raonic had to save two break points in the second game and another in the fourth game.

However, Raonic was the one to strike in game nine.  Muller led 30-0 but Raonic, inspired by two backhand winners, proceeded to break serve and lead 5-4.
Serving out the set 6-4 was a mere formality and the third seed enjoyed a two set advantage.

For a second time Muller opened a set, and with a similar result.  

A pair of winners and an ace for a love game, and then he took two points off the Raonic serve.  Muller used up three game points in the third game before taking it on the fourth and leading 2-1.

Raonic delivered three aces and clinched the fourth game, and three forehand winners for the sixth.  All the while chasing Muller who was holding serve reliably at the other end, though he had to save two break points in a nervous ninth game.
No breaks were forthcoming and Raonic needed to hold for a sixth time in the set to force a tie break.

Muller had a set point when Raonic lost control of a backhand long.  He netted a forehand to lose the chance and the tiebreak arrived.

A backhand pass from Raonic and he led 1-0.  Muller out thought the third seed at the net and it was 1-2 on serve.  Raonic snuck out to 3-2 with serves to come.
6-3 and three match points, Raonic won it on the second, through to the third round 6-3 6-4 7-6 (4)

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