Andy Murray takes on Milos Raonic in the first semi final of the World Tour Finals with the first match up being between the winner of the John Mcenroe group (Murray) and the runner up of the Ivan Lendl group (Raonic). Murray continues to hold the fate of the World No.1 ranking in his hands and will ensure the Year End No.1 too if he wins the event.
Murray maintained his 405 point lead over Djokovic by matching the Serbian’s 3-0 record in the group stages. On paper, the match against Stanislas Wawrinka looked a tough one with the Swiss needing a win to qualify but Murray saw the third seed off in fairly routine style 6-4 6-2. A dominant performance on first serve saw him win 87% of points while he faced just two break points, saving both of them on his way to taking the second set and with it the match.
Meanwhile, Raonic won a winner takes all match on Thursday night to take second place in the group and with it his spot in the semi finals. He did need to come from a minibreak down to win the first set of his 7-6 6-3 victory over Dominic Thiem. “I stepped up when I had an opportunity in the tiebreak. I stepped up at the beginning of the second set and the end of it. There’s a lot definitely to be proud of, playing under that kind of pressure” Raonic said after his match.
While he was very much expected to win against Thiem, it was an impressive win under the circumstances. He won’t be expected to do the same against Murray, especially with the story of World No.1 for Murray driving the Scot forward at this point. John Mcenroe has been seen as a good part of helping Raonic move to the next level and he has been prominent in the Canadian’s box this week and Raonic has been hugely complimentary on what the partnership offers him. “He shares a lot of wisdom with me, a lot of his opinions. I respect that. I respect him a lot for all those kind of things. It was a big plus to have him there.” said Raonic.
Murray’s record against the biggest servers has always been impressive and it is no different for him against Raonic. They have played 5 times this year including the Wimbledon final where Murray was a level above in winning in straights to earn his third slam title. They were slated to meet in the semi finals of Paris which could have gave a good indication on how this match would go indoors but Raonic’s precautionary withdrawal meant that match didn’t end up going ahead.
Prediction – Andy Murray in straight sets