ATP Madrid: Novak Djokovic advances to tournament semifinals, defeating Milos Raonic in straight sets

For the seventh consecutive time, Novak Djokovic has defeated Milos Raonic. This time, these two battled for a spot in the semifinals of ATP Madrid. The world’s number one won the match, 6-3, 6-4, in one hour and 44 minutes.

Djokovic dominates first set, getting crucial break

Easy first service game for Djokovic, started with an ace and dropped just one point, when up 30-15. Raonic responded with a hold of his own, jumping out to a 40-0 advantage, wrapping the game up two points later. In the third game, Raonic became aggressive, going to the net, hitting a big overhead to draw the game level at 15-all. Djokovic though, answered by winning the next three points, capping it off with a backhand winner up the line.

Going to the net early in the game for the Canadian was working; it helped Raonic take away angles as his big frame quickly closed down on shots. In his second service game, he stepped in front of the service line, and fought back from 15-0 and 30-15 to win the game and level things at two. Then, Raonic forced Djokovic to work in the fifth game, making him run from one end of the court to another. But a drop shot from Raonic did not come off as he had hoped, and eventually lost the game as well.

Up 30-15, on Ranoic’s serve, the duo battled in an intense rally, but Djokovic pushed the Canadian into a more defensive shape. As a result, Raonic could not quite connect on a shot and it hit the net. Djokovic eventually won the break when Raonic tried to get a winner in the corner. The world’s number one though, hit a spectacular passing shot up the line. Raonic took Djokovic to deuce for the first time on the consolidation, but the Serbian eventually won the service game, taking a 5-2 lead, eventually taking the opening set 6-3 in 35 minutes.

Novak Djokovic advances to face Kei Nishikori in the semifinals in Madrid. | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Novak Djokovic advances to face Kei Nishikori in the semifinals in Madrid. | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

In the opening game of the second set, Djokovic had the opportunity to break Raonic straight away. However, Raonic fought off two break points and break points initially to take the game to deuce. Finally though, on the fourth break point of the game, Djokovic won the game, giving himself a huge advantage.

Early break enough for Djokovic

Djokovic, though, did not consolidate his break as cleanly as he would have liked. He faced two break points of his own, the first two of the tournament, bought fought those off. Djokovic would go on to win the game, to take a quick 2-0 lead, after he hit a strong serve that Raonic could not return. Raonic, on his second service game, hit a wild shot long to go down 0-15 early. Then, when that game was at 15-all, Raonic mishit a ferocious forehand and hit it very poorly, to go down 30-15. Finally, though, after fighting off two break points, Raonic held his serve in impressive fashion.

The 25-year-old, Raonic, was not as dominate on serve as he had been earlier in the match. He struggled getting good leads in the second set and Djokovic made him work. Following the break in the first set, Raonic did hold his next two service games, but it was not easy.

Djokovic, on the other hand, had a fairly easy couple of service games to make it 5-3. During that stretch, he dropped just two points and really tightened the screws on Raonic late in the match. In that last game, however, Djokovic worked for the victory. For the first time in the tournament, he dropped the first two points on his serve and came up against a break point. And finally, after three deuces, Djokovic knocked Raonic once more to move into the last four of the Mutua Madrid Open.

Coming up

Novak Djokovic will hope he can book a place in the finals tomorrow when he goes up against Kei Nishikori. Djokovic has won seven of the nine meetings against his Japanese opponent.