“It would be amazing [to win an ATP Masters 1000 title]. In general, as part of my career, it’s not just the last six months that come back [and] playing. Just with everything else, I want to go to heights that I haven’t yet reached and that’s part of it, “Raonic said.” That’s why I worked hard with very clear and specific goals. and I hope I can take it one step further and maybe make a difference tomorrow. ”
In January, Raonic didn’t face a break point to defeat Tsitsipas 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (2) in his first ATP Head2Head fight against the Greek. After securing his second victory in as many games against defending champion Nitto ATP Finals, Raonic has won each of his 28 service games against Tsitsipas and has faced just one breaking point.
Since reaching 3rd place in the FedEx ATP Rankings on November 21, 2016, Raonic has consistently struggled with injuries. Last year, the Canadian retired from 10 events due to injury. But now, after the five-month suspension from the ATP circuit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new Raonic has returned to its peak.
“I feel good about my tennis,” Raonic said. “I took the time to train, to try to do things well, to get to a stage that I had never been with my tennis, with my health. Hope this can continue to pay off for me because I have the job and let’s see what the future holds. ”
Before his victory over fourth-seeded Tsitsipas, Raonic defeated Sam Querrey, Daniel Evans, two-time champion Andy Murray and Filip Krajinovic to reach the semi-finals. In his quarter-final against Krajinovic, the Canadian was forced to save the match point at 4-5, 30/40, in the deciding set.
Raonic will meet world No.1 Djokovic or Roberto Bautista Agut for the title. The eight-time ATP Tour titlist has an ATP Head2Head record of 0-10 against Djokovic and is undefeated in five ATP Head2Head games against Bautista Agut.
“For me, I have to find a way to get to the first ball,” said Raonic. “I put a lot of pressure on guys with my serve. I have to make them play, I have to make them think about their service. If I give away too many free things, that’s my service game. harder and also takes a lot of the pressure I create with my service games out of them. ”
In a single breakpoint opening set, Raonic rounded his backhand at 5-6, 30/40, to save the set point with a series of powerful forehands. In the tie-break, the Canadian recovered from a mini-break and hit the winners with the forehand back-to-back at 5/5 to clinch the first set.
« [The set point] was difficult. It was a long point, I didn’t get the free point on the service. I had to play it, but I played it well and stayed true to my intentions throughout the process and it paid off for me. I stuck with my game and luckily things came together. ”
Raonic continued to use his forehand to break through Tsitsipas ‘defense early in the second set, and at his first break point at 2-1, the world No.30 became the first player to break Tsitsipas’ serve this week with a low setback. passing shot. Raonic retained his advantage and served the match with love, securing the victory with a powerful serve into his opponent’s backhand.
During the ATP Tour suspension, Raonic worked hard to return to peak physical form and take his game to new heights. The 29-year-old began preparations for the ATP Tour resumption in March, completing three six-week 22-week training blocks.
“We did a preseason for six weeks of training and I did three blocks,” said Raonic. “I did one right after we closed on March 11 or 12. I took 10 days off, started around the 24th… I did six weeks, took two weeks off, another six weeks, two weeks off and six more weeks before I got here.