Chalkdust Chronicles: Federer rampant over Raonic
(November 9, 2014) LONDON – World Tour Finals rookie Milos Raonic got a baptism of fire on his debut, as memories of his Paris win and first victory over Roger Federer was all but banished from memory in a 25 minute first set.
From the offset, Federer raced out to a 3-0 lead and while Raonic spared his blushes of avoiding a bagel, getting a solitary game on the board, it was not enough to hold back the tide of errors flowing from his racquet.
Where in Paris he was serving like a demon, the lack of variety started to harm Raonic as he lacked the court smarts in the first set to try and stay with Federer.
It was a more competitive start for the Canadian, but not without some battling still with a big hold to stay in contention at the start of the second before being rewarded with the rarity of break points on the Federer serve, taking the World No. 2 seven minutes to hold as the big serving Canadian was starting to serve a lot better. It was the boost he needed as Federer started to go off the boil.
Frustratingly break point chances came again for Raonic in the all important 11th game, and some clutch play from Federer forced a tie-break, and the rhythm and form started to desert him a little as Federer build up a sharp 6-0 lead in the tie-break. He needed just the one match point, as he roasted Raonic 6-1 7-6(0).
It was a very satisfied Federer who laid his loss at Paris to rest, as he explained:
“I think I played really well for probably one and a half sets. It was good to get off to a good start like I did against him at Cincinnati, and Wimbledon. I had a couple of games where I was up 40‑Love, and both times he came back and got into the game, which was probably my mistake. But it made me uncomfortable. I started to play a bit more passive. He started to become a bit more offensive. I actually think he was the better player from that moment on and deserved the set more than I did.
“Thankfully he didn’t play quite so well, like he did in Paris maybe. He gave me a few shots here and there, especially at the beginning of the breaker. I think those were crucial. I was happy to bring it home because it was very close at the end of the second.”
Raonic, on the other hand knows that he faces a real challenge, and so far has come of worse with one more debutant to go tomorrow, as Marin Cilic takes on Novak Djokovic.
“It’s obviously disappointing, very disappointing actually, the way I finished that second set off. He was a lot more consistent on his return games. In Paris, okay, I’d get free points when I hit aces, but today the big difference was when he would get his racquet on the ball, he would make me play all the time. He was giving me some shots in Paris in that sense, some quicker points.
“I believe he played better today. I believe I started off not playing nearly as well, but I think I sort of found that Paris level that I had against him come the second set. I think that’s why I was able to create some opportunities for myself.”
He will face Andy Murray who was edged out by the third newcomer to London Kei Nishikori.
“It’s a completely different match. Things are going to be quite different than the first match. We both, after today, have more so of an idea what we need to do different for the next round. It’s going to be about who necessarily adjusts better, who can play better come Tuesday night.”
Stan Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych will play the Monday day session and two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic starts his defense in the night session.
RESULTS FOR SUNDAY, 9 NOVEMBER 2014
Singles – Group B Round Robin
 R Federer (SUI) d  M Raonic (CAN) 61 76(0)
 K Nishikori (JPN) d  A Murray (GBR) 64 64
Doubles – Group B Round Robin
 I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) d  D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) 63 75
 M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP) d  J Benneteau (FRA) / E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 64 64