Milos Raonic will be hoping it is tenth time lucky when he takes on Novak Djokovic in the night session on Rod Laver Arena. It is a tough matchup for the Canadian, who has won just two sets in the nine straight losses he has taken against the World No.2.
Even with Raonic suffering from injury and loss of form over the past few years, his performances at the first slam of the year have not let him. He is in the quarter finals for the fifth time in six years, with a round one loss in 2018 his only disappointment in Melbourne. It is not hugely surprising to see him at this stage again but the manner of his last two victories is quite impressive. He hit a total of 54 aces in his wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Marin Cilic, while not dropping serve in either match. Cilic even went as far as suggesting the Canadian could win the tournament after their match. “Milos played unbelievable tennis and he is just showing that he’s in great form, maybe the best form I’ve seen him during all his career,” said Cilic. “From my own opinion and playing against him, I feel he has a really good chance to win the tournament.”
Djokovic is never going to be blessed with the same talents as Raonic on serve but his has been a revelation this tournament, helping him to ease through the first four rounds. He did only hit 8 against Diego Schwartzman in his 6-3 6-4 6-4 win but it didn’t matter too much as he was always comfortable throughout, getting only broken once by the Argentinian. “I knew if I gave him time, he could do a lot of damage. He’s one of the quickest players on the Tour,” Djokovic said afterwards. “I tried to mix it up a bit, hit a few slices and bring him into the net sometimes. It worked well today.”
“He’s one of the tallest and strongest guys physically on the Tour. He has one of the biggest serves. I’ve got to be ready for missiles coming from his side of the net,” Djokovic said. While Raonic is having one of the best tournaments of his career, it is undoubtedly the case that his biggest weapon will not be as effective against probably the best returner on the tour. “I think I’m going to have to hit more than 35 aces,” Raonic joked, knowing how tough it will be for him to even get close to the Serbian. He didn’t even earn a break point in their previous Melbourne match, where he lost 7-5 6-4 6-2 in 2015.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in four sets