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Ricky’s Preview and Pick For The Cincinnati Semifinals: Tsitsipas vs. Raonic

By Ricky Dimon

Sporting a new crop of wild hair, Milos Raonic has cut through the Western & Southern Open draw in impressive fashion. The world No. 30 produced a promising start to his 2020 campaign, with a quarterfinal showing at the Australian Open and a semi in Delray Beach prior to the coronavirus hiatus. This week, he picked up where he left off in February.

After rolling through Sam Querrey, Dan Evans, and Andy Murray, Raonic ran into more than a little trouble against Filip Krajinovic in the quarters on Wednesday. The 2016 Wimbledon runner-up saved one match point serving at 4-5 in the third set and eventually prevailed.

Milos Raonic during a Western and Southern Open quarter-finals match at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 26 August 2020.

Tsitipas, ranked sixth in the world, had a patchy start to the 2020 season. The Greek lost to none other than Raonic in Australia, where he was sent packing in straight sets. Tsitsipas went on to win in Marseille and he made the final in Dubai, so he wasn’t exactly in bad form going into the shutdown.

The quarters were a bit anticlimactic for the 22-year-old. Opponent Reilly Opelka retired at 6-5 in the first set with a knee injury–thus Tsitsipas goes into Friday well-rested, while Raonic was on court for two hours and 40 minutes. Of course, the unexpected one-day break to protest social injustice will actually be a benefit of sorts to the big man. He will now have plenty of rest; plus he can keep points short with hit booming serve.

The courts at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center are playing fast this week, which should give Raonic a bit of an edge with his monster first serve. Tsitsipas didn’t break serve a single time against John Isner in the third round or against Opelka in the quarters. That does not bode well for his chance of finding the range on return against a serve like Raonic.

While their single career meeting is not a big enough data set to draw any real conclusions about the matchup, Raonic’s straight-set win in Melbourne was decisive enough to possibly give Tsitispas some cause for concern.

Pick: Raonic in 3

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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