Milos Raonic vs Stan Wawrinka – 4th round preview

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It is one of the most highly anticipated 4th round clashes in recent memory, pitting AO 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka against resurgent Canadian powerhouse Milos Raonic.

Neither player has lost a match in 2016 as they won their Australian Open warm-up tournaments. Raonic won in Brisbane defeating Roger Federer in the final and Wawrinka won in Chennai defeating Borna Coric in the final there.

Stan Wawrinka vs Milos Raonic: Head-to-Head

This is the pair’s 5th career meeting and first at a grand slam. Wawrinka leads the H2H 4-0 and Raonic has won jut one set in the four meetings and that came back in Cincinnati 2012.

Raonic-Stan H2H

Stan Wawrinka’s form:

g_wawrinka_230116_34

Stan Wawrinka is once again playing some of his best tennis in Melbourne. The 2014 AO champion breezed through to the fourth round after beating Lukas Rosol in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (3).

Wawrinka showed off serve by launching 18 aces and winning 80 percent of his first serve points against Rosol. He also fired home 45 winners and limited his unforced errors to 23 for the second consecutive match.

Wawrinka is one of the few players on tour that can challenge Raonic’s service game, but the Swiss’ serve has not exactly been locked in thus far. He’s failed to put 60 percent of his first serves in play in, and has also been broken in back-to-back matches.

However, the Swiss has the more consistent and well-rounded ground-game compared to the more erratic play of the Raonic. That’s a big reason why Wawrinka is still a perfect 4-0 against Raonic in their all-time meetings, with three of those four wins coming on hard courts.

For Wawrinka to win, he needs to get involved in Raonic’s service games and he must take advantage of break points. Like I mentioned above Raonic has been broken just once and has only even faced 6 break points in the entire tournament. Wawrinka needs to find a way to get more pressure on Raonic’s serve. One way to do that is by making sure his own service games are quick so the pressure of holding is constantly on Raonic.

The problem is Wawrinka has struggled converting break points at this year’s Australian Open. He has converted just 10 of 31 break point chances the entire tournament. If Wawrinka gets break points, he has to take them.

Wawrinka summed up his love affair with Melbourne thus:
I was moving well, returning well and I like the court here. I like the conditions and I always like coming back here.

Milos Raonic’s form:

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 23: Milos Raonic of Canada plays a backhand in his third round match against Viktor Troicki of Serbia during day six of the 2016 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 23, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

After laboring to a nearly three-hour straight-sets victory over Tommy Robredo in the second round, Milos Raonic had a much easier time taking out Viktor Troicki, courtesy of 14 aces, in their third round matchup. The No. 14 seed needed just an hour and 45 minutes to record a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 victory to reach the Australian Open Round of 16 for the fourth time in six tries. This is the one of the best stretches for Raonic, who usually wins or loses depending on his ace count. But that’s not the case this year.

One of the keys to Raonic’s victory was his success in cutting down on his unforced errors. After committing a whopping 59 miscues against Robredo, the Canadian committed just 23 against Troicki. Raonic also took advantage of his opportunities to break his opponent’s serve. He went 5-of-12 against Troicki after going just 1-of-12 against Robredo.

Despite getting broken for the first time in the tournament by Troicki, Raonic’s big serve has been huge for him once again in Melbourne. Raonic has fired in 50 aces, is putting over 60 percent of his first serves in play, and has won 83 percent or more of his first serve points through his first three matches.

Recently, Raonic has really improved his net play. He has won 70% (22/30, 40/57, 25/32) and higher of the net points in his first three matches. He needs to keep that up against Wawrinka.

Keys to the match:

Stan Wawrinka:

  • 1st serve at 60% and 2nd serve points won over 50%
  • 60% returns made and more than 30% return points won
  • Have a break-point conversion rate of 60% or higher

Milos Raonic:

  • 1st serve at 65% and 1st serve points won over 80%
  • 2nd serve points won more than 50% and less than 3 double-faults
  • Winners to unforced errors differential of +10 or higher

Prediction:

It’ll be a close match as 5/9 sets in their H2H have gone to a tiebreaker. So, expect multiple tiebreakers in this match and whoever serves better in the TBs will be victorious.

TT expected result:

Stan Wawrinka in 4 tight sets, based on overall better game.

 


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