• Novak Djokovic will face Milos Raonic for the Western & Southern Open title, trying to extend his perfect 10-0 record in their head to heads
  • The Serbian plays his 114th ATP final, bidding to reach his 80th title and to equal Nadal’s 35 Masters 1000 crowns
  • The Canadian trails 10-0 in their head to heads
NEW YORK, USA – Novak Djokovic will meet Milos Raonic in the Western & Southern Open final. The Serbian bids for his 35th Masters 1000 title, the former No.3 for a maiden Masters.

 

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Resurgent Milos Raonic will face resilient Novak Djokovic in the opening Masters 1000 event of the season. The Serbian extended his perfect start of the 2020 campaign to 22 straight wins after an exhausting comeback win over Roberto Bautista Agut. The World No.1, playing his 114th ATP final, aims to seal his 80th title and tie Nadal’s all-time-career ATP Masters 1000 record of 35 crowns. The Canadian will play his 23rd Tour-level title match (8-14), fourth in an ATP Masters 1000 event (0-3).

 

Novak Djokovic [1] v Milos Raonic | Djokovic leads H2H 10-0

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The World No.1 struggled with a stomach issue, received a neck treatment in the opening stages of the second set and needed to raise his aggression level from 4-5 in the second when the roof was closed. He engaged in gruelling battles from the baseline, winning six more points in the rallies that needed no more than shots to be completed. Djokovic was forced to do something special to beat the Spaniard, one of five players to beat the Serbian when ranked No. 1 at least three times.

Djokovic was forced to carve a series of drop shots to take control of the game. He seemingly clinched the victory at 5-2 up in the deciding set, but Bautista reacted by winning four games in a row. The World No.1 broke back as his opponent served to seal his second Masters 1000 final, before winning the 19th of his past 20 tie-breaks dating back to the Wimbledon final.

READ MORE | Tennis | US Open 2020 | Men’s Draw Breakdown, Top Seeds’ Paths to the Final

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Raonic has lost all of their ten previous meetings. However the unseeded Canadian showed the most effective serve in terms of both aces and points won on first delivery among the semifinalist. He went on to lose four out of 39 first-serve points against Stefanos Tsitsipas, reaching his first final at this level since Indian Wells in 2016.

The former World No.3 will need to put pressure on Djokovic with his serve. He must make him think, but it might not be enough against the Serbian as their head to head record testifies. Net points can become a factor too, given Raonic worked hard to improve his fitness level and consequently his game. His massive strokes, his booming serves brought him to the final against the perfect player to dismantle his strengths and expose his weaknesses. Although he might not be 100% fit, Djokovic is clearly the favourite to win the title.

He has the elasticity to cover the court and return frequently, he can generate spin and angles to make it harder for the Canadian to turn around his backhand and dictate the game with his forehand from the ad-side as he did saving a set point against Tsitsipas in the first set. Raonic could become tense and predictable on serve, and winning his maiden Masters 1000 title will remain another mission impossible.

Prediction: Djokovic in three sets.

 

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