Wimbledon third round preview: Milos Raonic vs Albert Ramos Viñolas

Sixth seed Milos Raonic has been going under the radar at this year's Wimbledon. Last year's finalist has struggled in 2017 due to niggling injuries and inconsistencies. Moreover, the former world number three will fancy his chances of going far at SW19. However, he is in the same section of the draw as seven-time champion Roger Federer and three-time winner Novak Djokovic. The Canadian has historically struggled against both Federer and Djokovic. Nonetheless, if his serve is firing on all cylinders, he could pose big problems should he face them in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively.

The big-serving Canadian began the year as the world number three but he hasn't been spoken about as a potential winner as the attention is heading towards the Big Four, who have collectively won the last 14 Wimbledon titles between them. Nonetheless, the 26-year-old has overcome two tough battles, and he has to up his level against 25th seed Albert Ramos Viñolas.

The Spaniard has improved his tennis in 2017. The 29-year-old shone on the clay courts in Monte Carlo, most notably defeating world number one Andy Murray along the way to reach his first Masters 1000 final. No surprise that he lost to his successful compatriot Rafael Nadal in the final, but it was a good week nevertheless for Ramos Viñolas.

The 25th seed will be hoping to join his compatriots Nadal and 18th seed Roberto Bautista Agut on Manic Monday after the two-time champion dispatched Karen Khachanov and Bautista Agut sent the ninth seed Kei Nishikori packing.

Both Raonic and Ramos Viñolas' preparations for Wimbledon have been far from ideal as last year's beaten finalist lost to Thanasi Kokkanakis in the first round at Queen's, and the Spaniard lost to Andrey Rublev in Halle, who he would later beat at Wimbledon to reach the third round.

Raonic's route to the third round

The sixth seed returned to the hallowed turfs of Wimbledon, the place, where he reached his first Grand Slam final in 2016. Raonic got off to a good start as he defeated Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff but he needed two tiebreaks in the first and third sets to see off the German. In the second round, the former world number three could have been sent packing by former quarterfinalist Mikhail Youzhny. The Russian had set points to gain a two sets to love lead but he failed to convert the set point chances, which Raonic would make him pay. The 26-year-old overcame the former world number 8 in four sets to keep his campaign at SW19 alive.

Last year's runner-up will need to serve well against the lefty (Photo by Michael Steele / Getty)
Last year's runner-up will need to serve well against the lefty (Photo by Michael Steele / Getty)

Ramos Viñolas' route to the third round

The 25th seed broke into the top 20 at world number 17 in the world back in May but he has slightly slipped down the rankings, after failing to defend his quarterfinal points at Roland Garros. However, the Spaniard did reach the fourth round but he lost to Novak Djokovic, who was the defending champion at the time. The 29-year-old from Spain recorded a good victory over Australia's Jordan Thompson. The victory was a significant one as Thompson defeated Andy Murray at Queen's a week and a half prior. It was a straight set win for the Spaniard but he had a tough ordeal in the second round. Ramos Viñolas gained his revenge against Rublev in five sets recovering from a two sets to one deficit to reach the third round at SW19 for the second successive year.

The lefty is looking to reach the second week at a Slam for the third time (Photo by Julian Finney / Getty)
The lefty is looking to reach the second week at a Slam for the third time (Photo by Julian Finney / Getty)

Their history

The duo has met on two occasions, and both players have defeated each other. Raonic won their first encounter in a Davis Cup tie between Canada and Spain back in 2013, which Raonic won in four sets on hard courts. However, Ramos Viñolas upset last year's Wimbledon finalist in the fourth round at the French Open, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 advancing to his first Grand Slam quarterfinal. Unfortunately, that was the end of the road for the lefty, who was thrashed by Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals.

Who advances to Manic Monday?

The keys to victory for Raonic is plain and simple. The sixth seed will rely heavily on his serve and booming forehands to do the job. If he is having a bad serving day, the former world number three tends to struggle. Furthermore, Ramos Viñolas will be looking to target Raonic's backhand side, which is one of the weaker aspects of his game.

However, this is grass and whilst Ramos Viñolas had the upper hand over Raonic on the clay courts at Roland Garros, this is Wimbledon and Raonic's favored surface, and should the Canadian's serve and forehands do the trick, he will book his ticket to Manic Monday and the second week of Wimbledon. This is a good opportunity for someone in this section of the draw to reach the quarterfinals as the winner of this match will face 10th seed Alexander Zverev or Jack Sock's conqueror Sebastian Ofner in the fourth round.

Prediction: Raonic in straight sets