In a match we missed out on in Miami, Andy Murray will finally get his first look at Milos Raonic tomorrow on the clay at Barcelona. Raonic, a virtual newbie on the red stuff, took out veteran Spanish dirtballer Nicolas Almagro in style 6-3, 6-3.
Murray, who’s shown progress on the clay, also appears to be in form after destroying Santiago Giraldo 6-1, 6-2.
“It’s going to be completely different to today,” Murray said of playing Raonic. “He’s obviously got a huge serve and a very good game. He can obviously dictate the match, so you need to make sure you play a solid match. There’s a chance that he’s going to give you the odd opportunity by making mistakes and you need to be ready to take that.”
Raonic has never beaten a Top 5 ranked player (0-4) with his highest career ranking win coming over a No. 9 (three times). And rare has a Canadian scored such a high ranking win on clay.
Rafael Nadal continued his domination on his favorite surface cruising to his 31st straight victory in Barcelona after pounding Colombian qualifier Robert Farah 6-2, 6-3.
“I look back on two great weeks and am very happy about my victory,” said Nadal who wins his 18th straight on clay. “All matches will be very difficult from now on as all players are specialists on clay.”
On Friday in the quarterfinals Nadal will play Janko Tipsarevic. Also, Spanish No. 2 David Ferrer meets countryman Feliciano Lopez and former champion Fernando Verdasco takes on Kei Nishikori.
In Stuttgart, the local Germans went 2-2 on the day. Rising star Angelique Kerber pulled the win of the afternoon hammering former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-1, 6-2.
“It was a very perfect match,” Kerber said. “Caroline is a great player, a Top 10 player and No.1 in January, so to beat her twice in the last two weeks gives me a lot of confidence. It doesn’t matter if I’m playing on hard or clay, I feel very good on both surfaces. And I feel very good here. The crowd is unbelievable.”
Mona Barthel was also a winner, beating Marion Bartoli while former champion Julia Goerges fell to Sam Stosur.
Andrea Petkovic’s injury woes continued Thursday when the former Top 10er turned her ankle down 6-4, 4-4 to World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.
“My ankle swelled up as soon as I twisted it,” said Petkovic who had already missed three month of the season because of a back injury. “I don’t know how bad it is at the moment, but we are checking the ligaments for any damage. Right now I’m just icing it and then tomorrow I will have an MRI and a CT.”
PORSCHE TENNIS GRAND PRIX
Friday, April 27, 2012
Centre Court (from 14.00hrs)
1. Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Li Na
2. Victoria Azarenka vs. Mona Barthel
3. Samantha Stosur vs. Maria Sharapova (NB 18.30hrs)
4. Angelique Kerber vs. Petra Kvitova (NB 20.00hrs)
PISTA CENTRAL start 12:30 pm
 M Raonic (CAN) vs  A Murray (GBR)
 F Lopez (ESP) vs  D Ferrer (ESP)
 R Nadal (ESP) vs  J Tipsarevic (SRB)
 F Verdasco (ESP) vs  K Nishikori (JPN)
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