Bit of an upset here as Milos Raonic took out Roger 6-3, 6-7(3), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in three hours and 24 minutes to make his first ever Grand Slam Final.
Roger was the bookies favourite pre match and after a poor start it looked he'd justified his odds as he moved 2 sets to 1 in front and was the better player throughout the fourth set. But Raonic stuck around, got a second wind and took advantage of an awry game from the Swiss to force a decider. The fifth saw Roger's legs fail and after he took a tumble he dropped serve to trail 1-3 which let Raonic serve his way over the line. Not what I had in mind even though I thought it would be close but utlimately Raonic did a better job of things when the opportunity came his way; he bags his 3rd win in 12 meeting and gives himself a fighting chance of winning a slam on Sunday.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and chose sides. Raonic held to 30 to kick things off. Roger then levelled for 1-1 but at 1-2 he double faulted on break point to hand Raonic a 3-1 lead. The Canadian consolidated and bagged the first set without facing a break point.
Losing the first set was a disaster for Roger but he quickly regrouped in set 2 to lead 1-0 and was able to hold serve fairly comfortably. The problem was Raonic wasn't really troubled either until game 10 where he had to save 4 set points before holding. The set resulted in a tie break and it was Raonic who blinked first with a double fault at 3-3. Roger then held both serves to lead 6-3 and converted his first set point to level at 1 set all.
Into set 3 and Federer was the man on top making more returns and holding serve easily. Putting more balls in play paid off as he broke to lead 4-3 and went on to serve out the set 6-4 and put himself in the driving seat.
Set 4 saw Roger continue to play well and he held 2 break points in game 5 but Raonic held. The Swiss was making inroads into almost all the return games holding another break point in game 9 which once again didn't go his way. At 5-5 0-30 Raonic came up with a full stretch volley to cut off a pass, you could tell Roger thought he had it won as he'd stopped moving and had to make a last ditch attempt to get to the volley. That point helped Raonic go onto hold and guarantee himself at least a tiebreak. Roger quickly moved 40-0 up but from 40-15 he hit back to back double faults and a terrible forehand approach shot to get broken losing the set 7-5.
Dropping the fourth set in such fashion gave Raonic a huge shot of adrenaline going into the fifth and with Roger saving at 1-2 deuce he took an awkward fall to give Raonic a break point. Roger took a short break to see the trainer, saved it and held a game point but after another double fault Raonic came up with a great point to break and lead 3-1. The wind was now in his sails and he consolidated for 4-1. With Fed looking to be out of gas Raonic had two more break points for a double break but couldn't convert. A quick hold gave Raonic a 5-2 lead and despite Roger holding to love for 3-5 Raonic served it out in style to take it 6-3 in the fifth.
|MATCH STATISTICS||M. RAONIC||R. FEDERER|
|FIRST SERVE % IN||113/167 (68%)||98/160 (61%)|
|WIN % ON 1ST SERVE||94/113 (83%)||80/98 (82%)|
|WIN % ON 2ND SERVE||25/54 (46%)||32/62 (52%)|
|NET POINTS WON||38/56 (68%)||25/37 (68%)|
|BREAK POINTS WON||3/8 (38%)||1/9 (11%)|
|RECEIVING POINTS WON||48/160 (30%)||48/167 (29%)|
|TOTAL POINTS WON||167||160|
|DISTANCE COVERED (M)||2382.8||2349|
|DISTANCE COVERED/PT. (M)||7.3||7.2|
Thoughts on the Match
First the match itself… I always thought this match would be predicated on how Roger was moving after going 5 sets with Cilic on Wednesday. The answer was pretty good for the most part but he got himself in a terrible position by losing the first set so tamely and when the match went the distance he ran out of gas. Had he won that first set I'm 90% sure he would have got this one done in 3 or 4 but he let Raonic get on the board and it cost him big time.
The second and third set were all fairly solid for him. Never quite making enough first serves or dictating play to run away with them but he was the better player which is why he got the lead. I though the fourth was going to go his way too after the first few games but Raonic found something extra, started controlling more points and took full advantage of the horrible game at 5-6. Even Roger can't explain what went wrong so I'm not going to try either but the set point was such a joke of a forehand 😆 As for the fifth set, again I thought he had a chance but his movement around the court dropped off a cliff. The tumble in game 4 obviously tweaked something too and from there on it was done and dusted with Raonic only dropping 2 more points on serve en route to closing it out.
What more can you say? Both guys had an almost identical gameplan (obviously vastly different game styles), neither of them executed it perfectly but Raonic played smarter, dug deep, got more points on his terms and came forward when it mattered to get the victory.
As for the tournament, it has to go down as an achievement to make the semi finals. He definitely took advantage of easy second and third rounds but getting past Johnson and then coming back from the brink against Cilic was pretty special. Remember he had knee surgery 5 months ago and has barely played all season. So Wimbledon has to go down as a big plus for him when looking at the bigger picture. These back to back 5 setters will have given him a ton of info on where he is at and the Cilic win will have given him a ton of confidence. The Raonic loss will have dented it somewhat but when is all and said and done, he didn't play great but still took a guy who's reaching his peak to 5 and had more than enough chances to win.
So I don't really have too many concerns about his game moving forward but his stamina is always going to be under scrutiny when matches go the distance. The game is hugely physical and there's no way around it with the courts at their current speeds so how can he take down a big tournament when an opponent forces 5 sets? Probably a discussion for another post that one 😉
The other immediate question is how he is holding up physically – he said he's had a thigh problem all tourmament (obviously not severe) and that fall in the fifth looked like it tweaked the knee a bit. It looked like the type of fall when you're upper body / mind is moving too fast for your legs to catch up so not great. Hopefully no real damage.
Anyway, over you you. What did you guys think of the match? Let me know in the comments.