Milos Raonic has never beaten Novak Djokovic. In March I watched these two play each other in the final of Indian Wells and I think I described it as the most one-sided Masters 1000 final I have ever seen. 7 times they have met with Djokovic winning all 7 and winning 17 of the 18 sets of tennis they have played against each other which is quite remarkable but after an Indian Wells thrashing Milos may be after revenge and he might not get a better chance.
Two words to sum up their performances in the first match? Raonic – ruthless and sharp, Djokovic – fragile and determined. Both won, one more convincing than the other but what will Raonic want to get right this time against Djokovic?
Rewind to Indian Wells final…
Slicing into Novak’s backhand…
Second game of the match we saw this.
Novak on the baseline and Milos slicing into the central of the court into the two hander of Djokovic. Not bad if you get depth on the ball and speed but it was slow from Raonic and as you can see below it’s pretty routine from here on in for the former world number one who hit a winner.
Slicing isn’t bad against Novak but in those tricky and slow conditions at Indian Wells it doesn’t work, it may work better for Raonic in London but he will need to measure when to go for it if required.
Dealing with the serve
Returning the serve of Raonic is difficult especially on an indoor court. At Indian wells Novak did this quite well however I was surprised how many times he went into the body of Novak instead of looking out-wide for the kick.
You can see above Novak makes good contact with that unfamiliar two handed shot off the forehand but returns a 139mph serve very well and wins the point. Best effort against Novak on the ad side would have been to go for the kick as shown with the yellow line.
It was quite epic against Monfils, but rewind to Indian Wells and it wasn’t good at all expect for a stunning FH winner in the opening couple of games it was either a case of go wide or go long despite there being plenty of room on the court.
Above is a shot of Milos lining up the forehand but to be honest the angle isn’t great all that Cilic goes for, probably playing it safe being break point down but just look! He could easily pull this further wide, Novak is leaning to his left but the ball was too central, Novak got to it and broke the Canadian.
Of course he can, might not get a better chance. He needs to play the angles so well like he did against Monfils especially off the forehand and at the net and if he can get rhythm off the kick-serve he stands a good chance. My only worry is complacency, we saw it from Thiem and one thing you can’t do is see the finishing line before you’ve crossed it. Remaining focused will be tough but is do-able!
All screenshots credit to SkySports