Andy Murray is out of the Barcelona Open after being beaten by Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).
A match up that was viewed as overdue by many, this was a match being anticipated with some interest. It was also a cause for some concern with many Murray fans and rightly so. The young Canadian seems to fall into the 'still waters run deep' category with no sign of nerves as he faced the world no.4.
Raonic came out guns blazing with his huge serve and powerful returns, and gave Murray no chance to get a real grip on his serves. Andy on the other hand seemed to be constantly on the back foot as he stood back and played his usual game of long rallies. Unfortunately the long rallies led to more winners for the Canadian rather than errors and gave Raonic control of the match from early on.
The first set comprised of Murray being tested on serve while Raonic held with ease, until at 3-3, a wayward drop shot from Murray offered Raonic a 2nd break point with he took full advantage of and went up the break 4-3.
Murray fought to hold onto his next service game, forcing Raonic to serve out the set, which he did with an excellent forehand winner after setting up 3 set points with his 9th ace of the match.Read more (393 words)
Murray seemed lightly more animated and determined at the beginning of the 2nd set, and this began to show slightly in the score on Raonic's serve, with him taking the young Canadian to deuce in the 4th game of the set, and attacking the serve again in the 6th game. This made no real difference however, as Raonic's massive serve got him out of any potential trouble.
Murray's own service game came under pressure in the 7th game of the set, which offered Raonic 2 chances to break. For once in the match Raonic failed to make the most of the opportunities and many Murray fans held their breath, hoping that this would throw the Canadian and give Murray a chance to get into the match.
This hope did not last long as in Murray's next service game Raonic broke and came out to serve for the match. Andy then showed his battling spirit and played some of his best points of the match and managed to break the Raonic serve to level the game once more.
Both then held serve and the 2nd set went to a tie-break. In merely comparing the two mens serve the match seemed a foregone conclusion, and so it turned out to be. Raonic showed no signs of nerves or of much really, his composure never faltered. He quickly gained a 5-1 lead in the tie-break and while Andy held onto his 2 points on serve, Raonic served out the match and proceeds to the semi-finals.
The match was not a display of Murray at his finest, although neither was it him at his worst. He was hitting the ball well at points, and the main faults to be picked up upon were the usual- he was too passive and his serving percentage couldn't compare with his opponent. While it can be argued that Raonic is quickly becoming one of the big servers of the game; and that Murray's style of tennis would never give him the same percentages, this match highlighted the degree to which match winning opportunities are gained on second serves.
Yet again Murray ends a tournament on clay with a lot of questions to be answered about what he can do to make himself successful on this surface. So while Milos Raonic
progresses to the Semi's, Andy must return to the practice courts.