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January 22 09:24
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Guest Blog

Measuring Milos

January 09, 2012 | 06:35 PM

By winning Chennai over a top 10 player (Tipsarevic) yesterday Milos RAONIC did a lot to bolster his confidence and begin the defense of the ranking points which vaulted him as high as #25 last winter (his current ranking after yesterday). Janko played like a top 10 player yesterday, as did Milos - think Roddick a few years back. Not only did he serve 35 aces and face only 3 break points in 3 hours plus of pressure from an opponent who refused to relinquish his own serve even once. Milos showed that he could play defense, turning points around against an attacking opponent, as well as attack with what is on its way to becoming another top 10 weapon: his forehand.

Where does his game need work?

- there were a couple of poor mistakes when he he was drawn in for short low forehands

- he is a little vulnerable on low balls to his BH side at the net, where he has difficulty turning his huge ship around

Compare this to Roddick's former limitations: at least Milos can make net play look routine some of the time. His two hander is stronger than Roddick's already. And he can almost flatten out his forehand a la Delpo et al.

Hard not to predict this young man is on his way up. Perhaps the signs of this will appear this month, perhaps later. But short of a bad injury (he was limited by injuries for the 2nd half of last year), there's no reason more experience won't see him in the top 20 this year, and the top 10 in another year. And it could happen faster.

Unlike last year, he'll be seeded in the Open, and won't therefore run into a higher ranked player until the 3rd round. Anything short of reaching the 3rd round would be a disappointment for him and a negative for his ranking.

Rick

ATP, january 9, 2012


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