Novak Djokovic continues his Australian Open title defence when he meets a resurgent Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.
Novak Djokovic ?? vs Milos Raonic ?? Match Info
Date: Tuesday January 28
Tournament: Australian Open QF
Court: Rod Laver Arena
Time: 7.00pm local time (8.00am GMT)
Novak Djokovic vs Milos Raonic Head-to-Head
Djokovic leads 9-0
2018 | Cincinnati QF | Djokovic 7-5 4-6 6-3
2016 | ATP Finals RR | Djokovic 7-6(6) 7-6(5)
2016 | Madrid QF | Djokovic 6-3 6-4
2016 | Indian Wells Final | Djokovic 6-2 6-0
2015 | Australian Open QF | 7-6(5) 6-4 6-2
2014 | Paris Final | Djokovic 6-2 6-3
2014 | French Open QF | Djokovic 7-5 7-6(5) 6-4
2014 | Rome SF | Djokovic 6-7(5) 7-6(4) 6-3
2013 | Davis Cup SF | Djokovic 7-6(1) 6-2 6-2
Novak Djokovic vs Milos Raonic Match Preview
Djokovic looks to make it 10 wins from 10 against the big-serving Raonic as the pair battle it out in a Grand Slam quarter-final for the third time in their careers.
The World No. 2 has made the perfect start to the season, registering a flawless 10-0 record in leading Serbia to the ATP Cup title, beating the likes of Denis Shapovalov, Kevin Anderson, Daniil Medvedev and World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, while he’s only dropped one set on his way to the Australian Open quarter-finals, accounting for Jan-Lennard Struff in four before dispatching Tatsumo Ito, Yoshihito Nishioka and Diego Schwartzman in straights.
One aspect of Djokovic’s game that has been a big talking point over the last week has been his serve, especially against Nishioka when he dropped just eight points in the entire match behind his serve, with nearly half of them coming in the final game of the match, while he fired down 17 aces to boot. Djokovic didn’t manage quite those numbers in the fourth round, but that could be due to the fact he was facing the third best returner (according to ATP stats) in the game in Schwartzman.
Nevertheless, Djokovic was still able to come away with a routine 6-3 6-4 6-4 victory, winning 41 of 55 points behind his first serve, converting four of eight break point chances and firing 38 winners to improve his record to 4-0 over the Argentine. In fact, considering Schwartzman had taken a set off Djokovic in their last two meetings, the defending champion would have been delighted to get the job done in straights.
“It’s the fourth round of a Grand Slam and Diego is a quality player. He’s had a terrific tournament in the first three rounds. I knew if I gave him time, he could do a lot of damage. He’s one of the quickest players on the Tour,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview.
“I tried to mix it up a bit, hit a few slices and bring him into the net sometimes. It worked well today.”
It’s been the perfect start to the season as Djokovic looks to wrestle back the No. 1 ranking from Nadal and continue his pursuit of the all-time Grand Slam singles title record, where he currently trails Nadal by three and Federer by four.
Djokovic started 2019 with a bang as he crushed Nadal for his seventh Australian Open crown and came out on top in a Wimbledon classic against Federer for his 16th major title, but he would have been disappointed with how his season came to an end – retiring in the fourth round of the U.S. Open, losing in the ATP Finals group stage and relinquishing the No. 1 ranking to Nadal. Looking unstoppable once again in Melbourne, can Djokovic remain undefeated against his quarter-final opponent on Tuesday?
Raonic is enjoying a brilliant resurgence in Melbourne and appears to finally be playing injury-free, which is unsurprisingly proving to be a world of difference. The big-serving Canadian has yet to drop a set on his way to his fifth Australian Open quarter-final in the last six years, beating Lorenzo Giustino and Cristian Garin easily before stepping it up for the scalps of sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and 2018 Australian Open runner-up Marin Cilic. Raonic saved some of his best tennis for Cilic in the fourth round on Sunday, blasting 35 aces in the clinical 6-4 6-3 7-5 triumph, with his serving remaining unbroken all tournament.
“It feels pretty damn good, I’ve got to say,” Raonic said on court after his win. “I can’t complain about it and I’m just happy with how things are going. I’m happy I have another chance to play in two days here and it’s been an exciting tournament for me so far, but hopefully there are more exciting things ahead.”
Raonic compiled his career-best season in 2016 when he became the first Canadian man to reach a Grand Slam singles final at Wimbledon (lost to Andy Murray after beating Roger Federer), while he also finished runner-up at Indian Wells, made the semi-finals of the Australian Open and ATP Finals and won the Brisbane title to end that year at No. 3 in the world. However, various injury problems have plagued Raonic over the last few years, causing him to drop to No. 40 in the world, which is his lowest mark since 2011. In total, Raonic withdrew from 10 tournaments in 2019 with knee, back, glute and hip injuries, but he appears to be back to full fitness in Melbourne – can he pull off the shock of the tournament against the defending champion on Tuesday?
Novak Djokovic vs Milos Raonic Prediction
Most likely not. This just isn’t a good match-up for Raonic – his biggest strength (serve) is completely nullified by Djokovic’s most damaging weapon (return). It forces Raonic under immense pressure every single service game, because he knows if he loses his serve, that’s basically the set over, because nine times out of ten, he’s not winning baseline points against the Serbian. Suffice to say, Raonic needs to get to tiebreaks, serve out of a tree and take every one of his chances to have a chance here. That probably won’t happen, so expect another relatively comfortable win for Djokovic.