In a matchup that wouldn’t have seemed out of place in a grand slam semi final just a few years ago, Stanislas Wawrinka and Milos Raonic will be battling out for a place in the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday. Wawrinka has had some of the great moments of his career in this tournament including two epic clashes with Novak Djokovic, in which the 2014 edition saw him win en-route to winning the title. Check out the Wawrinka vs Raonic H2H matches.
Wawrinka has not quite managed to put it all back together after a lot of time off through injury in the past 18 months. He had early exits at all of the grand slams last year, including a second round defeat to Tennys Sandgren here. Still outside the top 50, there isn’t enough of an indication to suggest he is back to title challenging form yet. He needed a retirement from Ernests Gulbis while down a set to make it to this stage. “It’s for sure that’s not the way you want to get through a match. I was a little bit looking for my game, little bit looking to play my tennis. He didn’t give me so much time.” he said afterwards.
Meanwhile, Raonic made light of one of the toughest unseeded players in the draw in Nick Kyrgios. The Canadian was utterly dominant on serve in the 6-4 7-6 6-4 win with his opponent full of praise afterwards. He played unbelievable. Never seen serving like that in my life. He was in such a good rhythm on serve, I couldn’t do anything.” Kyrgios said. “He was way too good tonight. Every time I returned, he served and volleyed. He volleyed unbelievable. He was so composed on big points, he made returns, jag returns on big points on my serve.”
Wawrinka leads the head to head 4-2 but has lost the last two, both of which came at grand slams. Raonic was a comfortable winner in New York last, facing just one break point in the straight sets victory. Playing a (potentially) top player early on doesn’t phase the Canadian, who should rise to the challenge. “I think it demands a little bit more of you. Takes off a little bit of pressure. You know how you’re not sure how you’re going to start in tournaments? I think it sort of just — it’s good to have those nerves. I think it just demands a sharper version of yourself.” he said.
Prediction – Milos Raonic in 4 sets