Australian Open: Murray vs Raonic preview

By Niall Clarke

  • Andy Murray vs Milos Raonic preview
  • Head to head: 3-3
  • Winner faces Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer in the final

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA- Andy Murray will face Milos Raonic for a chance to play Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final on Sunday.

The British number one has faced many different foes over the past two weeks. Big servers, baselines grinders and the worries of his father in law being ill and his wife Kim Sears possibly giving birth.

But the biggest test may await in the semi finals. A challenge that lies in the form of 6ft5 Canadian Raonic. His serve can make the ground shake and his current form will make any player quake in their boots (or tennis shoes).

Along with Murray and Djokovic, Raonic is unbeaten in the 2016 season. After claiming the Brisbane title with an impressive straight sets win over Federer, the Canadian continued his good run of form into Melbourne where he scored another top four victory over Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round.

Gael Monfils got serious for once and moved around the court like his shoes had a traction engine, but that still could not stop Raonic who managed to come through in four sets.

We have known about the Canadian’s serve for a long time but what the most impressive thing about Raonic has been his improved ground game. One does not break the Wawrinka serve three times in a set with just a serve. Raonic told the press the improvements have been significant.

“ [I have improved] Significantly. I think I know better how to use my groundstrokes.” Raonic said.

“But at the same time, because I’m getting to the ball in better position, it’s easier. I don’t feel like I’m getting hustled around the court that much. I feel like I can find my way back. I don’t have to go for big shots on the run. I can sort of neutralize a little bit better.

“At the end of the day, as well as I do that, that’s never going to be what wins me matches. It’s about doing what I can to get ahead in points and be the aggressor and take it to my opponents.”

The world number 14 has been a thorn in Murray’s side in the past, winning three of six meetings with the Brit. The world number two however has gained the recent edge by winning their past two matches.

Murray has come through to the last four relatively unscathed, dropping only two sets to David Ferrer and Joao Sousa respectively. He has not been at his best, especially against the Spaniard where he made 64 unforced errors, but Murray has done enough to make it to the semi finals despite the off court problems.

The Brit is seeking his fifth Australian Open final and his first title in Melbourne, but is well aware of the threat that awaits him.

“Yeah, like I said, it’s been a very good start to the year [For Milos].” Murray said.

“We’re only a couple of tournaments in and it’s a long, long year. He was unfortunate last year with some injuries. Had a few physical issues. I played him in Madrid and he was struggling a little bit there.

“Then I think he had the surgery on his foot and missed the French and maybe Wimbledon as well. He’s obviously fit and healthy now and playing well.”

With Joanna Konta battling for a place in the women’s final and brother Jamie Murray going well in the doubles, could we see a hat trick of Brits in the Australian Open finals?

Murray vs Raonic will take place on Friday.

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