Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Raonic serving it up

Third seed Milos Raonic was a semi finalist at last year's Aus Open, and only injury prevented him defeating Andy Murray and reaching the final.
He played well in Brisbane without successfully defending his title but showed enough to suggest that he will feature prominently, well into the second week of this year's event.
Today he plays 70th ranked Dustin Brown from Germany, and the two met in the first round of the 2016 US Open, where Raonic triumphed in three straight sets.
A similar result is expected today.

Raonic served first in the opening set, and he wasted no time serving big.  A double fault did not faze him, and the game was sealed with the first of what would likely be a feast of aces.

Some neat work at the net after an excellent lob gave Brown his first point on serve, and drop shotting Raonic appears to be high on his list of tactics.  A comfortable hold and 1-1.
A couple of pleasant passing shots shifted Raonic from an unwelcome 15-30 to a 2-1 advantage.

Brown was in the thick of the early stages of the match, mixing his shots up, returning well when possible to touch the Raonic serve, and confident in his choices.
He was 2-3 and another serve to come.
In trouble and down break points it was Brown's big serve that saved him on a few occasions in the sixth game, but then Raonic stepped up, hit three successive aces, and won the next point with a serve volley combo to put the pressure immediately back on Brown 3-4.

Raonic had lifted the standard and Brown could not quite go with it, losing his serve at the most Inopportune moment, and Raonic served it out to lead 6-3.

Brown saved break chances early in set two, while Raonic methodically carved his way through his service games, reserving a few thrilling shots for the right moments.
2-2 and no real threat of someone taking the match by the throat.
Until the next game.  Here Brown lost concentration misfiring a few groundstrokes and handing a service break to the third seed.

The next two games went easily with serve and Milos had 4-3 with a break included.
Raonic was required to hold serve again at 5-4 to take a two sets to love lead.

After stuffing up three points and facing a break back point, Raonic steadied to eventually win the game and set with a customary ace.
The Canadian now had a huge advantage 6-3 6-4.

He extended that by breaking in the opening game of set three - Brown tried his hardest to level, but to no avail and Raonic consolidated at 2-0.
A fine game by the German brought it back to 2-1 with winners off both sides, but the big serving of Raonic easily pushed the advantage back to two.

Some irresistible passing shots from Milos contributed to a second break and Dustin was just about done and dusted.
4-1 with another serve to come for the third seed.

Some of the biggest serving for the match put Raonic one game from the second round, but Brown delayed the inevitable just a few minutes thanks to a collection of clean winners and a service hold for 2-5.

Even a double fault couldn't prevent Raonic from finishing off a good match and great start to this year's Aus Open 6-3 6-4 6-2.

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