Unfortunately I couldn’t watch this match. The times are really awkward for me where I live in South Africa. But I was pleased with the result upon awakening. The highlights looked good too. It went pretty much as expected. If Roger lost a set it was always gonna be in a tie break. Since it was their first meeting Roger needed a set to get a read on the Raonic serve. I guess at this point it looked like an upset was in the making, but Roger quickly nullified such notions as he broke Raonic twice to win the second set. From there on he had to be the favorite to win, and proceeded to break Raonic in the seventh game after a short slice return off a Raonic first serve and a decisive backhand pass up the line. Roger let rip with a loud ‘COME OOOON!!’ while he pumped his fist and never looked back thereafter.
This was pretty much a serving contest. Raonic has a huge serve, one of the best I’ve ever seen, but Roger’s placement and variation is incredible as well. Raonic only served two more aces than Roger and surprisingly both served six double faults. That is a lot for Roger especially. Other than that his stats were pretty much spotless. The first serve points won was much higher than Raonic and the 3/4 break point conversions is a sign of Roger’s confidence and clutchness at the moment.Apparently there were some calls which Raonic should have challenged during the last game, although I doubt it would have made a difference. As far as the illness goes Roger still sounded under the weather in his interview after the match, but obviously it had no effect on his play.
He now plays Bellucci who had a walkover against Davydenko. They have never played before either. Bellucci is a pretty solid left-handed base liner, but I can’t see him bothering Roger much. It looks like Roger is on course for yet another meeting with Del Potro in the quarters. Why does Roger keep playing the same players? First it was Tsonga, now Del Potro. Either way I am still very happy with Roger’s form in 2012. It really looks like a different Roger. The last two years haven’t been that great by his own high standards and it looks like he has found another gear. If he makes the semis and faces Nadal it is not a given that Nadal will once again be the winner either. The fact that Roger criticized Nadal for time wasting doesn’t mean he will now beat Nadal, but at least it makes things a bit more interesting.
It seems Roger is feeling confident and that he is hungry for a win over Nadal. Still a long way to go though.