Raonic outlasts Krajinovic in epic three-set thriller

MILOS Raonic has come from a set and a break down to hold on and then secure victory against a determined Filip Krajinovic in the Western & Southern Open today. Moving through to the final four, the big serving Canadian had to fight back from a 6-4 5-4 deficit with his opponent serving for the match. Digging deep, Raonic forced the match into a third set after winning the second set tiebreaker 7-2. Despite fighting his way back and the match being on serve, Raonic had a set point against him in the decider, down 30/40 before winning off his famed backhand to hold serve.

Both players had been in ripping form heading into the match, with Raonic smashing British wildcard and Grand Slam winner, Andy Murray, while Krajinovic had wiped world number three Dominic Thiem off the court. The match lasted two hours and 42 minutes, with Raonic serving a whopping 24 aces to five, and winning 80 per cent of his first serve points. The Serbian was more reliable off his second serve (57 per cent to Raonic’s 50 per cent), but there was very little to separate them until Raonic won the final three games of the match to triumph, 4-6 7-6 7-5.

Raonic will now head into the semi-finals to take on fourth seed, Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Canadian does not have to look too far back for inspiration against his highly touted opponent, winning in straight sets back at Melbourne Park in January. Tsitsipas made his way into the final four thanks to a retirement from opponent Reilly Opelka whose right knee was troubling him following the 11th game. Whilst Tsitsipas was glad to be through to the semis, he was in a jovial mood throughout the week having defeated giants Kevin Anderson, John Isner and now Opelka, all of whom are 200cm or more.

“The question remains: Am I going to make it to the record books for playing the tallest players on the ATP consecutively, one after the other?” Tsitsipas told the ATP Tour website. “I have to check it out. I don’t think it has ever happened before.”

In the other semi-final, Novak Djokovic will take on Roberto Bautista Agut. Djokovic made his way through with a straight-forward win over an in-form Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 6-1, while Bautista Agut had a tougher road to the semis, defeating third seed Daniil Medvedev in a come-from-behind triumph 1-6 6-4 6-3. Of his next opponent, Bautista Agut said knew just how big of a challenge it will be.

“He (Djokovic) didn’t lose a match this year,” he said. “He is a great player, very solid, very aggressive and he has a lot of weapons. “Against him, I will try to play my best game to beat him, which is not easy. “If I can play a good level, it is going to be a good match.”

While Bautista Agut does not have the weapons that Djokovic possesses, the Serbian world number one knows that he cannot afford to drop off because of the Spaniard’s consistency on the counter punch.

“We always expect Roberto to play on a certain level,” he said. “He doesn’t drop much. “He doesn’t give it away. “You have to earn your points. “He is so solid from the back of the court… Roberto found a way [against Medvedev] and that is obviously a virtue of champions.”


[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 6-3 6-1
[8] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated [3] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 1-6 6-4 6-3
[4] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated Reilly Opelka 5-6 RET
Milos Raonic (CAN) defeated Filip Krajinovic 4-6 7-6 7-5

Picture: ATP Tour

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