Sixth seed Milos Raonic has had an indifferent 2017 campaign on the ATP World Tour that has been plagued by injuries. Nonetheless, last year's Wimbledon finalist lost to Andy Murray in three sets in his first Grand Slam final. The 26-year-old will be hungry to reach that stage for the second successive year but he has a tough draw to negotiate if he is to do so. Raonic lost to 10-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals in Melbourne and he has reached two finals in Delray Beach and Geneva amongst his highlights.
Standing in the way between Raonic and a place in the quarterfinals for the third time is 10th seed Alexander Zverev. The German has advanced to the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career. The 20-year-old stunned Novak Djokovic in a clinical performance in the final in Rome to capture his first Masters 1000 title. Unfortunately, the German lost to Fernando Verdasco in the first round at Roland Garros, which was a tough draw for the youngster.
Raonic's route to Manic Monday
The Canadian's progress through to the second week has not been serene but he has got the job done. Raonic sent Zverev's compatriot Jan-Lennard Struff packing, 7-6(5), 6-2, 7-6(4) but in the second round, last year's runner-up had some pressure against former world number eight Mikhail Youzhny. The big-serving Canadian saved set points against the Russian, and he could have been two sets to love down but he hung in. He eventually overcame the two-time US Open semifinalist in four sets. In the third round, Raonic gained his revenge against 25th seed Albert Ramos Vinolas, who sent him packing in the fourth round at the French Open last year. It was not a surprise that the Spaniard beat him in Paris but the former world number three sent the 29-year-old packing in three sets, advancing to Manic Monday once again.
Zverev's route to Manic Monday
The 10th seed is one of six men to have not dropped a set en route to the fourth round. The German defeated Evgeny Donskoy, 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-3 to ensure that he maintained his 100 per cent record intact of never losing in the first round at SW19. Zverev faced fellow ATP rising star Frances Tiafoe in the second round, and the more experienced Zverev defeated the American, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 to reach the third round once again. The 20-year-old was projected to face 17th seed Jack Sock in the third but instead, he faced Sock's conqueror Sebastian Ofner. The Austrian qualified to reach the main draw at Wimbledon but Zverev took advantage and ended the 21-year-old's run, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the second week at a Grand Slam for the first time.
Who reaches the quarterfinals?
Both players will fancy their chances of reaching the last eight at Wimbledon. The 10th seed won their solitary meeting in the quarterfinals at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome after a tight first set, he ran away with it in the second set. This match will be serve-dominated, and both players will look to dictate play from the baseline and use their forehands to do the damage.
Zverev's movement is slightly better than Raonic's and there is another obstacle that he needs to get over. The world number 12 is yet to defeat a top 50 player in a best-of-five-sets match. The German was agonizingly close to doing it at the Australian Open in the third round against Rafael Nadal but he was unable to do so. Nevertheless, Raonic has not had a good year and grass does help his serve and his forehands. This match could go either way but it will be Raonic who will come through this match.
The players could have a long wait before they take to No.2 Court as there could be two long three-set women's singles matches between Angelique Kerber and Garbine Muguruza, and Victoria Azarenka and Simona Halep before they get their match started, and there could be a rain delay to further delay their match. They may take to the court on Manic Monday at around 4pm or 5pm local time. The winner of this clash will face the seven-time champion Roger Federer or 13th seed Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Prediction: Raonic in five sets