Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic will be squaring off for the sixth time in their careers when they aim for a place in th BNP Paribas Open quarterfinals on Wednesday. Raonic is leading the head-to-head series 3-2, including 3-1 on hard courts. Only one of Raonic’s setbacks (at the 2013 Paris Masters) has come aside from retirement, which marred their most showdown meeting at the 2015 Monte-Carlo Masters.
Raonic missed much of the remainder of last season with a foot problem and another adductor injury sidelined him this February following the Australian Open. Early returns in Indian Wells have been reassuring for the 14th-ranked Canadian, who has gotten past Inigo Cervantes and Bernard Tomic without coming close to dropping a set.
Berdych, however, represents competition the likes of which the No. 12 seed has not faced since his semifinal run in Melbourne. The seventh-ranked Czech, dealt with an adductor injury of his own during Davis Cup action earlier this week, so itIt would be fair to say that this contest may come down to which man’s adductor is holding up better. Berdych, who had to retire in the tie’s fourth rubber against Philipp Kohlschreiber has silenced his fans’ fears thanks to a pair of wins in the desert. He beat Juan Martin Del Potro 7-6(4), 6-2 before holding off Borna Coric 6-1, 7-6(3) on Monday.
Prediction: Berdych in three sets