Milos Raonic has taken the Australian Open by storm heading into semifinal action, which begins on Thursday and will conclude on Friday. The big-serving Canadian slumped through an injury-plagued 2015 campaign, but he is back in business this season with a clean slate of health and a new coach in the form of Carlos Moya. It is a recipe that has proved flawless so far, as Raonic boasts a 10-0 record up to this point in his 2016 campaign. He upset Roger Federer for the Brisbane title and so far in Melbourne has defeated Lucas Pouille, Tommy Robredo, Viktor Troicki, Stan Wawrinka, and Gael Monfils.
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“It’s a very positive thing if you look at the big picture,” Raonic said when asked about being in the semis. “Right now in this moment alone it’s a great opportunity for me. I had a little bit of a disappointing semifinal two years ago (at Wimbledon), and sort of just want to change that story around and give myself another go with more experience and where I feel like I’m a better player than I was two years ago.”
Up next for the world No. 14, however, is a formidable foe in Andy Murray. The head-to-head series stands at 3-3 overall and 2-2 on hard courts. They most recently faced each other last year on the clay of Madrid, where Murray cruised 6-4, 7-5. The second-ranked Scot is looking like another tough test for Raonic once again. He dropped only two sets while booking his spot in the last four, which he did at the expense of Alexander Zverev, Sam Groth, Joao Sousa, Bernard Tomic, and David Ferrer. Only Sousa and Ferrer took sets.
“I think I played well today,” Murray commented after beating Ferrer. “I think today was probably the best match I played, especially in the second and third set. I started hitting the ball better from the back of the court.”
That is bad news for Raonic, who will be at an obvious disadvantage from the baseline even though he has improved his movement and groundstrokes. Murray has enjoyed plenty of success throughout his career against big servers, as well. Look for the favorite to put too many returns in play for Raonic, but it won’t be easy.
Prediction – Murray in four sets