Murray Wins, Raonic Sets Canadian History at Aussie Open
by Staff | January 27th, 2016, 7:46 am
  • 36 Comments

No. 2 seed Andy Murray moved one match away from a fifth Australian Open final, and perhaps a first-time win in Melbourne, but in his path will be a giant Canadian.


Murray on Wednesday handled No. 8 seed David Ferrer 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3, advancing to a semifinal against No. 13 seed Milos Raonic, who shut down the theatrics of No. 23 seed Gael “Force” Monfils 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

“I think today was probably the best match I’ve played,” said Murray of the brutal baseline battle with Ferrer, which included a 45-minute opening set. “Obviously the last few days have been tough and maybe I hadn’t played my best tennis. Today I felt like at the end of the match I was playing some good stuff, moving well.”

After the roof closed at one-set all due to impending rain, Murray seemed to thrive in the windless conditions, closing the match out in four sets.

“I think the quality of tennis went up when we went indoors, in my opinion,” Murray said “Better rallies. It was tricky conditions outdoors today. Pretty windy out there and not a consistent breeze. So a lot of unforced errors.”

Murray is part of a Brit threesome in the semis with Johanna Konta and his brother Jamie in the men’s doubles.

“It’s been a great tournament so far, and hopefully we can all keep going,” Murray said. “It’s really, really good for British tennis on the back of the end of last year with the Davis Cup as well. Extremely positive. We’ve just got to try and capitalize on it.”

The Brit will next face the hard-charging Raonic, the first Canadian to ever reach the Aussie Open semis, who continued his aggressive play with 31 net points won in 46 forays against Monfils. After posting a first-ever win over Stan Wawrinka in the previous round, Raonic beat Monfils for the first time on Wednesday.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Raonic said. “I just said to myself, keep creating opportunities and they’ll go your way. Who knows how much a factor playing indoors was, but it gave my mind some peace.”

Thinking ahead to Murray, Raonic says, “I have certain aspects that I would like to manipulate and use my game in, and I’m sure he’s going to try to do a lot of different things, too. I think it’s going to be a race to who can get in the comfort zone of themselves first.”

Thursday in Melbourne will see the first men’s semifinal with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic taking on No. 3 Roger Federer.


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36 Comments for Murray Wins, Raonic Sets Canadian History at Aussie Open

Jeez Says:

When will the BRIT become a

SCOT ???

Hmmm…

When he loses to Djokovic or Federer in the Final !!!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

I’m very excited for Milos- and also for myself, because I always wanted to cheer for him but found his game pretty boring until this year. With his amped up return game, his volleying, his improved backhand, he’s really shed that image, and is fun to watch. Would like to see some more emotion on court, but his coolness obviously works for him.

I’ve got a favourite in each of the semis, it will be tough if they both make the finals. In the meantime, what a fantastic semifinal line-up. I always like a configuration of 3 favourites and 1 surprise.


Margot Says:

Jeez that is so old it was around when the God gave Moses the 10 commandments.
C’mon Andy!


Gordon Says:

Ah yes, Canada has its own version of that one from the 1988 Olympics, when “Canadian Ben Johnson won gold in the men’s 100 metres” a day later turned into “Jamaican Ben Johnson tested positive for steroids in the men’s 100 metres.”


J-Kath Says:

Margot

Difficult question….are you able to speculate on the Andy v Milos match….I haven’t seen the “new” skills acquired by Milo, have you?


RZ Says:

Sorry Jeez, that ship sailed when Andy won Wimbledon.


RZ Says:

Question for Andy fans – if Andy makes the final, would you prefer he play against Djokovic or Federer?


Dave Says:

That’s actually a tough question. I think the last time Andy and Fed played here, it went 5 sets and Andy won. Fed wasn’t at this best though. That might have been the 2013 year when his back and racquet change hadn’t happened yet. It seems like a 50/50 result. Murray gives Nole more trouble and always gets a set of Nole in majors. Fed has actually beaten Andy in straight sets at majors lately. Maybe he would rather play Nole, because Nole has been not in the best form this tournament. Still, tough to call.


kriket Says:

I think both Murray and Federer would prefer to play against eachother rather than having to face Đoko. Murray never was as big an obstacle for Federer as Đoko was/is, and in return, I think Murray is more comfortable, more convinced when facing Federer, even though he knows it’s always tough. I haven’t seen Murray matches, and only a little bit of Federer on this tournament, though Federer seemed to breeze through to the semis as usual.
We shall see what Đoko brings to the court tomorrow against Fed and that match will show what’s what at this moment in pro tennis.


Ben Pronin Says:

Would he prefer a guy he’s always been able to get a set off of in slams except 1 time? And a guy he’s beaten in 2 slam finals? And a guy he’s recently beat?

Or a guy who’s only lost to him once in a slam and that in 5 sets and has straight setted him almost every other time and who he hasn’t beaten in like 3 years?

Murray will be the underdog against either guy. It’s a pick your poison situation.


lapinroyal Says:

I always find Milos looking like him and Milos is on fire lately… Go Milos! (Sorry Margot, we have so few of this occasion!)


James Says:

Much as I like Federer – I don’t think the 34 year old Fed has much of a chance against the 28 year old Djoke in a best of 5 on a hard court. Being a night match, courts will play slower. Djoke will grind him down in the first two sets (they will probably split it), and then he will win the next 2. Djoke in 4. This script seems easy to predict. Unless of course its Djoke in 3, which is entirely possible.

Though I do think Murray has a chance against Djoke in the final. He is playing better than early last year, Djoke is maybe just a shade below his peak, and Murray has always played well at the AO, the crowd will also support him (commonwealth and stuff). I can’t see Raonic taking out Murray – Murray has too much variety.


lapinroyal Says:

Andy seem to match well Roger in a 3 setter than 5 setter (except for Olympic final. Thanks to Del Potro who extract the last drop of juice out of Roger… Still DP went on to win his bronze against Nole)


rognadfan Says:

I think this time, Raonic will blast Murray’s 2nd serves, and ace+volley past him to the Final.
His return has been outstanding the whole tournament. Murray has to keep a high level of first serve %, which I have hardly ever seen. Murray will hit great passes every now and then but Raonic’s serve is too big, his volley pretty crisp and his forehand not too shabby either.
I have been really impressed by this revamped game of his.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

HAHAHAHAHA! I will never look at Milos the same/

Ben, very well put.


James Says:

Ben, Serbian poison is very potent these days. Swiss chocolate or Scotch whiskey cannot counter it. Canadian lumber will get burnt either way.


calmdownplease Says:

I think this time, Raonic will blast Murray’s 2nd serves, and ace+volley past him to the Final.’

mmm, I think there’s more pop on that 2nd serve now.
It won’t be too easy to do this time.
In any instance the return game really belongs to Andy, not Raonic.
Milo certainly looks the more in form but this is a semi-final and Andy will be ready to neutralise Raonic in a way that neither Monfils or Wawa could ever manage.
I’m leaning towards Andy but it depends on which one shows up
Yes, Andy dropped a set against Ferrer but he has was quite convincing in the end, and through the tournament (once the Sears collapse is factored out).


calmdownplease Says:

Andy will definitely prefer to play Novak in the final.
Novak is obviously a better player than Roger, but there is less baggage involved, despite the long run of defeats and as BP says he is yet to get a set off Fed since the surgery.
I thought Andy would take a while to catch up to the race and then it seemed he could never catch up with Novak who steamed far ahead. This final, if Andy gets to it, will tell us a lot about how Andy’s career will play out going on
But please no;
Feathers
Blisters
or Babies (yet)!


Margot Says:

@lapinroyal
That is so funny and sooo like him :)
And you cheer for whom you like my darling, it’s a free tennis world.
@Kath
H2H 3-3. Eek as Giles would say. Andy has a better chance in best of 5. Difficult for Milos to serve bombs for 5 sets. Gael took a set and Andy is a different kettle of fish, so here’s hoping.
@RZ
Not crossing any bridges. Either would be tough. I’m hoping if Andy gets there Kim goes straight into labour so Andy plays extra aggressive to get the match over quickly ;)


RZ Says:

If Murray makes the final, I’d prefer for him to play against Djokovic for the reasons that Ben states. Basically, Murray is more likely to get into the match (unless Federer has an amazing performance in the semis, as he could back that up by forgetting his serve in the final – a la Wimbledon 2015)


Ben Pronin Says:

I believe in Raonic, but he still has a lot of work to do before beating Murray in a slam. His return was what, bottom 2 in the past few years? Any improvement in that department is going to look monstrous because he was literally starting from the bottom.

The match-up will come down to either how well Murray’s return neutralizes Raonic’s serve, or how well Raonic’s serve neutralizes Murray’s return. In a best of 5, Raonic is the more likely to falter. If Raonic does come out “blasting Murray’s 2nd serves” then, well that’d be interesting to see, to say the least.

Considering where each guy is in his respective career, Raonic can afford to settle for a moral victory. If he can keep it close, maybe snag a set or 2, then at the least he’ll know he’s getting to where he needs to be. The worst thing would be a straight forward loss. A win would be monumental. But Murray can’t afford a loss here. There’s no moral victory in a blow out loss or a tight loss to Raonic. This is a “take care of business” setup for him. A loss would be a step back, not a huge one, but a significant one nonetheless.


Margot Says:

@Ben
Considering what has gone on/is going on in his life at the mo., no it wouldn’t.
A bit of hyperbole there.


Markus Says:

Raonic always looks so calm. Even when the situation gets tight, you never see him pulling his hair out.


RZ Says:

@Markus – that’s because he has so much hair gel on that his hair wouldn’t budge if he tried to pull at it. :-)


calmdownplease Says:

I still think he looks a bit like Mo from the Simpsons however,
But less so nowadays…..
I think he is the first from the so-called ‘next generation’ (lost gen?) to finally realise that the tour is moving on and it’s time to hunker down.
The rest of them, bar the brittle Nishi are a joke!
I just don’t think they have enough confidence to take over from Muzz Nadal Novak fed etc
It will require the next-next to do that


calmdownplease Says:

er I mean the second (after Nishi)


lapinroyal Says:

@margot
Thank for your blessing!

Milos take a very big cut on his return and his % Receiving points won is never been been (37% vs Stan and 33% vs LaMonf). I just hope that Milos will stuff his face with the Andy’s heavenly light second serve like clotted cream on scone.

I like better the Milos 2.0


Margot Says:

@RZ
Do you reckon Milos super glues it down?
@lapinroyal
That 2nd serve is improving all the time, so ner! He even managed to body serve Tomic…..*faint*


Markus Says:

Of the lost generation, only Kei and Milos seem to have found the way. Unfortunately, 3 or 4 (if you choose 3, feel free to get rid of your player of choice) still block the way. It will be hard for them to reach the finish line.


chrisford1 Says:

Aside from some injury setbacks out of his control, Milos Raonic is making steady progress to the Elites. He has a different talent suite than the fast and mobile Djokovic, Murray, former Nadal forte..and Fed of course.
His backhand has become a threat in the last year. Mobility improved. He will never be as mobile as any of the Big 4, but he is working on getting to at least 6′ 5″ Berdych’s level of fitness and speed.
He shares a few strengths that his fellow ethnic Serb Novak has – highly intelligent, very coachable, grounded in family.
He has been my pick for a few years to be the only “young gun” to get a Slam, and it will happen at Wimbledon, I think.


chrisford1 Says:

When I first first Raonic play, I thought of a big, lumbering Canadian Moose. Seems he has moved past that mental image I had so I will let it go.

One last post…Picture of him with Rocket Juan Carlos Moya.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/jJDgsN3eyWg/hqdefault.jpg

Yes, a non-lumbering Raonic 2.0 is being forged. This player is an all court threat and with much room for improvements to be worked – and the disciplined Milos is working on it all he can.


MMT Says:

This ought to be interesting – this is the second major semi-final from Raonic, who made it this far at Wimbledon in 2014 and lost to some Swiss guy. Aside from Djokovic, Murray might be the worst player for Raonic to play in the tournament because of the combination of Murray’s return of serve, his court coverage in defense, and his technical symmetry. The combination of these three things means that Raonic will have to be nearly perfect on his serve to avoid being broken.

The ray of hope for him, is that to this day, Murray’s serve is still a step below Djokovic (and Federer for that matter) and as such, he may have some margin to work with in the unlikely scenario that he’s broken. Of course, Raonic’s return of serve is not very good, so that won’t help, but it only has to be good enough on the day.

There’s one more thing to look out for – I feel the pro’s have a tendency to get into playing patterns independent of their opponents. Because most players they face defend/chase well, the MO at this level is to hit behind the player or wrongfoot them as often as they make them run. In fact, because it’s easier to hit with pace and depth if you hit to the same place the ball came from (rather than change directions) most players actually prefer this play.

The problem is that big players may move well for one or two shots and leave you with the impression that they move well in general, but actually a better play against a big guy is to make him chase, even if you don’t the ball as hard. The effort to go back and forth will elicit an error long before it will against a smaller, quicker more nimble player. In fact, hitting behind a quick player means they’ll vacate the spot you’re hitting to quicker than a big guy – hitting behind a big guy is just doing him a favor.

Shorty story long – Murray is very good at changing the direction of the ball (i.e. hitting in front of the opponent and making him run) without taking a lot of risk and missing the shot. As such, I think he’s the perfect candidate to stop Raonic if there are rallies in the point.

At the end of the day, I don’t think most players above say, 6’3″ are capable of moving well enough to win consistently in the modern game, particularly against the top players. del Potro and Cilic were the exception (Cilic didn’t move that well, he just served his socks off – del Potro really had the complete package).


J-Kath Says:

Taa Margot….Andy’s semi-final win would be wonderful…being selfish my spirits would certainly rise…


Wog Boy Says:

Raonic lacks mobility of one Nole, Andy, Roger and will never have that kind of on court mobility, but he is highly inteligent person who knows that and bulds his game around that by improving as much as possible and using his strengths to compensate where he is not so good. Like Nole, Raonic as of lately is adjusting his tactics accordingly to oponents, he played differently against Roger in Brisbane compare to Stan in Malbourne. That is sign of very inteligent and coachable player, as CF1, pointed out, who is eager to learn and who listens. He is destined for the big results.


lapinroyal Says:

Moya should know how to deal with a mediocre backhand to make a success career… Milos-Moya may turn out to be a good one. Look at Magnus Norman who lost in GS final and i think that he learn from his lost and he coach back to Stan to make him a GS winner(s).
-_^

Go Milos-Moya!

PS: Milos match well Murray in all tournament (Hard or clay) and they are even at 3-3 (Murray win the only match in GS).

@WB
“Raonic lacks mobility of one Nole, Andy, Roger”
If Marion Bartoli and Davenport can do it, Milos can too. He just need some alignment of the planet to boost his luck and to win the last point of this AO 2016. :-)

I’m still rooting for Roger though!!!


Colin Says:

I’m not too optimistic about Andy’s chances in this semi. I believe they are level in the head-to-head, and that statistic is to Murray’s detriment, because the Canadian was struggling for a long time with painful foot problems.

If Muzza does get to the final, one would have to bet against his beating Nole, but I think he will always believe he CAN beat the Serb, and that obviously can’t happen unless he keeps meeting him!

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