Between April 2010 and April 2011, the young Canadian Milos Raonic gained almost 400 places on the ATP ranking list, cracking the top-30 at 20 and becoming one of the most consistent players on the Tour. Finishing in the top-35 for nine straight years, the Podgorica native claimed eight ATP titles (the last one in Brisbane 2016) and fought for the Masters 1000 crowns and also in the Wimbledon final, becoming world no.
3 at the end of 2016 and hoping to challenge the players from the top even harder in the years to come. Instead of that, Milos struggled with many injuries, leaving the top-10 in August 2017 and never returning to the elite group again, unable to find his best tennis and stay healthy for at least half a year!
Losing the last six ATP finals, Raonic had to endure many difficulties in the past three years, incapable of finding the rhythm and compete on the level he had before. Working hard in the offseason, Milos made a promising start of 2020, advancing into the quarter-final at the Australian Open for the fifth time in the last six years, losing to Novak Djokovic in straight sets but feeling much better than in the same period of the previous years.
He was also the semi-finalist in Delray Beach, losing to Reilly Opelka in three sets and hoping for more chances to chase the ATP title in the rest of the season if the coronavirus allows any action in the rest of 2020. Speaking to TSN, Raonic recalled some of the important matches from the past, mentioning his first victory over Roger Federer in their seventh clash that came in Paris 2014, propelling him towards the ATP Finals for the first time.
The Canadian had notable results at the Masters 1000 series that year, advancing into the quarter-final in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo and Toronto, finding himself in the semi-final in Rome and Cincinnati and in the second final at that level in Paris following the triumph over Federer.
The clash lasted for an hour and 33 minutes and Milos prevailed 7-6, 7-5, firing 21 aces and dropping only 15 points in 12 service games. Federer scored a dominant victory over Raonic a couple of months earlier in Cincinnati but that wasn't the case in Paris, struggling a little bit behind the second serve and losing serve once in the closing stages of the second set to propel Milos through.
Raonic fended off a set point with an ace in the tenth game of the second set, moving in front with a backhand crosscourt winner in the next game and sealing the deal with a forehand winner a couple of minutes later for the first triumph over the Swiss legend.
"In 2014, I defeated Roger Federer for the first time in Paris Masters in the quarter-final, earning enough points to qualify for the ATP Finals. There were also some encounters I still remember vividly that I couldn't win, like that Australian Open semi-final in 2016 when I got injured against Andy Murray or the marathon match at the ATP Finals against him. I also played well against Stan Wawrinka at the Australian Open that year, it could have gone either way too."