Rising Raonic makes round three
Originally published on: 19/01/12 11:21
A year after Milos Raonic achieved his Grand Slam breakthrough in Melbourne, the 21-year-old Canadian continued his promising form on the blue plexi-cushion Down Under.
Raonic came through qualifying to reach the fourth round last year after knocking over the likes of Michael Llodra and Mikhail Youzhny, and the big-serving right-hander put himself one win away from matching his career-best Grand effort by surviving the test of Philipp Petzschner.
“I got a little tight for sure,” Raonic admitted, following a nervy end to his match with the German. “He was doing the right thing between making me just play and also putting the pressure on me. He wasn’t letting me get into any kind of rhythm on what to expect from him.”
What we can expect to see of Raonic in his next match will hold particular interest, with Lleyton Hewitt awaiting him in the third round after Andy Roddick retired with a hamstring injury after two sets. Raonic had expected to meet Roddick, who he faced up against soon after his Melbourne run last year, in the Memphis final, in a match notable for Roddick pulling off a diving forehand winner on match point.
“It could have gone either way,” remembers Roanic of that encounter. “I had set points in the first set tiebreak. He had match points in the second set tiebreak. Really we were both pretty much on the edge throughout the whole match.”
But it is Hewitt who will test the Canadian’s nerve in the third round.
“I’ve never played Milos before,” said the Australian. “He’s a big hitter. He had a breakthrough year here last year reaching the fourth round so it’s going to be a tough match.”
Racket-smashing has been the talk of the day following Marcus Baghdatis’ destruction of four frames in succession yesterday and Raonic joked that he couldn’t afford to risk it.
“I have 10 rackets. I need to play with 10 rackets. I don’t have any to break!
“I never really broke rackets too often,” he continued. “Last year I played the first half of the year with three rackets and the second half of the year with four. I think that also made me settle down with the breaking rackets. Now I have a few more, but I don’t feel the habit or anger to break them.”
Breaking serves, it seems, is much more important to the rising Canadian, who will face quite a fight whoever his opponent in round three.