Commonwealth competitors Andy Murray and Milos Raonic will meet on the second day of group B action in what will undoubtedly be crucial encounter to determine who will have a chance to advance to the semi-final stage of the tournament. Of their six previous meetings, Raonic leads the series 4-2, including wins in their last two contests. Check out the Murray v Raonic Head to Head
Although Murray had the early break lead and faced a timid Nishikori early in the match, he was unable to take advantage of the opportunity and eventually lost to the Japanese No. 1 in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. The Briton, who worked his way from 0-3 down to 4-3 up in the second set, was unable to sustain his efforts late in the match, and simply appeared out of sort after having an inspiring five-week run on the tour.
“It’s harder to qualify when you lose your first match. That’s pretty obvious. But unlike the other events, you still have a chance to go through. If this were anywhere else, I would be out of the tournament. You need to try to forget about today, work on some things tomorrow, and hopefully play better on Tuesday.
“Now I need to win my next two matches more than likely and win them well if I want to go through. That’s going to be tricky because Milos obviously played fantastic last week in Paris, and Roger always plays well at this event. So I’m definitely going to have to play better if I want to get through.”
While he was immediately blown off the court in the opening set, Raonic came to life in the second set started to make his return shots and slowly saw his confidence and shotmaking creep back into his game. He successfully worked held serve at pivotal moments, and forced Federer into several tight positions in his first four service games.
The contest remained on serve through 12 games, which forced Raonic into a must-win tiebreak to level the match. However, Federer took an early 3-0 lead and simply never looked back. Moments later, he closed out the tiebreak without losing a single point.
“Obviously it can come down just to one play, and we might be playing a third set,” said Raonic. “But it’s obviously disappointing, very disappointing actually, the way I finished that second set off…Today the big difference was when he would get his racquet on the ball, he would make me play all the time. He was giving me some shots in Paris in that sense, some quicker points.“
This marks the seventh time that these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Raonic leading the series 4-2. The Canadian has also won their two most recent encounters, including their only meeting in 2014. Both players will be motivated to keep their hopes alive in the tournament, and will be determined not to lose.
Prediction: Andy Murray in Three Sets