ATP Paris quarterfinal preview: Milos Raonic vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Fourth seed Milos Raonic takes on 11th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Masters, and this will be the fifth encounter between the duo which is poised at 2-2.

ATP Paris quarterfinal preview: Milos Raonic vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Raonic and Tsonga shake hands at the net following their epic encounter at the London Olympics in 2012 (Source : AP)

World number five Milos Raonic has the chance to end this week at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris at a career-high ranking of three should he reach the semifinals, following the early exit of US Open champion Stan Wawrinka.

Meanwhile, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga saved two match points in his fourth round encounter with fifth seed Kei Nishikori, and the Frenchman has kept his faint hopes of qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals alive.

This year's Wimbledon finalist, Raonic has struggled for form since reaching his maiden Grand Slam final, reaching only two semifinals and made quarterfinal appearance since then.

Tsonga has not yet won a title this year in 2016, and this is his last chance to claim a title in his cabinet but it has been a strong finish to the year for the Frenchman, losing to an in-form Andy Murray in the final of Vienna last week.

An inconsistent year for the Frenchman has seen him fall out of the top ten but he will be looking to re-assert his presence with the big boys next year and challenging for Slams once again.

Raonic's route to the quarterfinals

Raonic began his quest for his first Masters 1,000 title against the in-form Pablo Carreno Busta in the second round, following a first round bye and the Canadian defeated the Spaniard in straight sets to reach the third round.

In the third round, Raonic found himself a set down against 16th seed Pablo Cuevas but he responded and dispatched the Uruguayan, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 advancing to his seventh Masters 1,000 quarterfinal of the year, the second time in three seasons, he has achieved this feat.

Tsonga's route to the quarterfinals

Tsonga has announced that he will be a father next year, and the former top ten player dispatched this year's surprise French Open quarterfinalist Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 6-4 in the second round.

The Frenchman trailed 2-5 in his head-to-head meetings with Nishikori, and the signs were ominous that the 2014 US Open runner-up would extend his head-to-head with Tsonga.

However, Tsonga was able to recover from an opening set bagel and saved two match points to prevail 0-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3).

Tsonga competing in his third round match with Kei Nishikori (Photo by Dan Mullan / Getty Images)
Tsonga competing in his third round match with Kei Nishikori (Photo by Dan Mullan / Getty Images)

Their history

The duo are tied at 2-2 in their head-to-head meetings with the Frenchman winning the first two encounters. Raonic responded by winning the next two to restore parity.

Tsonga won their first meeting at the 2012 London Olympics held at Wimbledon on grass, and it was a thrilling encounter which Tsonga eventually won, 6-3, 3-6, 25-23.

Their second meeting was in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in 2013 with the 2008 Australian Open finalist winning 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in another close encounter.

Raonic sought revenge by halving the deficit in their third round meeting at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, recording a 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory in the Italian capital in 2014.

The big-serving Canadian won his second match with Tsonga two years later at the Mutua Madrid Open, 6-4, 6-4 also in the third round on clay.

Raonic competing at the BNP Paribas Masters (Photo by Dan Mullan / Getty Images)
Raonic competing at the BNP Paribas Masters (Photo by Dan Mullan / Getty Images)

Who reaches the semifinals?

Both players have big serves and blistering forehands but it all depends on the day who's serve will work better.

Tsonga has the ability to exploit Raonic's movement which is the weakness of his game. On the other hand, Raonic can come to the net and occasionally perform a serve and volley to keep the points short.

The 11th seed will have the crowd on his side but he also has a tremendous amount of pressure to deal with as he looks to take the final spot and qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals.

This is the final match scheduled on Court Central at not before 8:30pm local time. The winner of this match will face second seed Andy Murray, who is chasing the world number one ranking or seventh seed Tomas Berdych who is also looking to squeeze into the final spot.

This should be an entertaining matchup to close the quarterfinal lineup on Friday, and the Parisian crowd will be hoping that their man will be penciled into the semifinals.

Prediction: Raonic in straight sets