Cincinnati (semi-final): Stefanos Tsitsipas – Milos Raonic

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These two players have faced each other once before. It was this year at the Australian Open and Milos Raonic created a surprise by winning in 3 sets.

Tournament history

This is the third year in a row that Stefanos Tsitsipas has participated in this Masters 1000 in Cincinnati. Before this year, he had never managed to win a match in this competition.

As for Milos Raonic, he is playing this tournament for the 7th time in his career. This is the 3rd time he has reached the semi-finals, and he has never yet managed to go further.

In this edition

To get there, Stefanos Tsitsipas won against Kevin Anderson and John Isner without losing a set. The Greek then took advantage of the withdrawal of Reilly Opelka (right knee injury) after 40 minutes of play to secure his place in the semi-finals.

Contrary to his opponent of the day, Milos Raonic had to go through the first lap where he beat Sam Querrey. The Canadian then took the scalps of Daniel Evans, Andy Murray and Filip Krajinovic. Only the latter managed to steal a set from him.

Analysis

Stefanos Tsitsipas must have a lot of ass to face big waiters. After a little warm-up against Kevin Anderson, he played John Isner who made him sweat. We could have expected the same kind of match against Reilly Opelka (who was at 50 aces in 3 games), but the knee of the American didn’t hold up.

The Greek will therefore find himself once again in front of a good server. And this one is really sharp this week. Milos Raonic is 76 aces in 4 matches, and service statistics that can make Ivo Karlovic jealous.

The first thing I said to myself when I saw this poster was: “Stefanos Tsitsipas should really piss off”. Indeed, apart from the fact that Raonic is incredibly good on his service games, he is also capable of competing in rallies. Which is not necessarily the case with Tsitsipas’ previous opponents. Anderson leaves more possibilities on his serves, and John Isner often tries to cut short the rally by taking risks or going up to the net.

Milos Raonic has proven this week that he can keep the rythm imposed by his opponents (just have a look at his match against Filip Krajinovic). The Canadian manages to take the game in one single move. Finally, let’s say via his powerful forehand. Because his backhand can indeed leave something to be desired.

The strategy that Stefanos Tsitsipas will have to apply seems quite obvious to me: avoid being fixed on the forehand and insist on the backhand. The Greek will also have to avoid too neutral shots if he doesn’t want to be punished.

Milos Raonic will have my preference in this match. He seems to me to have a good card to play. He is very confident. This has a direct impact on the quality of his service and the aggressiveness of his game. If the Canadian manages to play as he did this week, he could well make his opponent lose patience. Tsitsipas may well be forced to force his fate by releasing less natural offensive shots.

I think this match will be played on details, why not on a tie-break in a 3rd set. These two players should be able to get a few chances. Milos Raonic seems to me to be in a better position to secure his games. Hence this choice.

Get out the popcorn, it’s definitely a match to watch.

Prediction: Milos Raonic wins

High risk

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