Competing in his first match on blue clay in Madrid 2012, the 3rd seed and a former champion Roger Federer had to work hard to escape an early exit. Facing a tricky rival on the fast and slippery surface, the Swiss beat Milos Raonic 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 in swift two hours and 14 minutes to advance into the third round and kick off the title chase.
Milos won four points more than Roger and played better behind the first and second serve to create four times more break chances! The young Canadian fired 46 winners and 26 unforced errors, throwing everything he had in his arsenal at Roger and having the upper hand on the court.
Still, Milos converted only one out of eight break opportunities to spoil his chances. He failed in the deciding tie break to propel Federer through despite facing only two break chances in the entire encounter! There was nothing to separate two great servers in the opening eight games, as they locked the result at 4-4 after just 24 minutes and offered no chances to the returners.
Roger Federer had to dig deep against Milos Raonic in Madrid 2012.
That all changed in the ninth game when Federer sprayed a forehand error to suffer a break at love out of nowhere. He sent Milos 5-4 in front and allowed the Canadian to hold at love for 6-4 after 31 minutes.
Facing an ultimate challenge in the second set's first game, Roger repelled three break chances with service winners to remain in touch. He served better until the 11th game, when he fended off a break chance to stay on the positive side and avoid an inevitable defeat.
That gave the Swiss the momentum he needed, and he landed a perfect drop shot in the next game to convert a rare break chance and steal the set 7-5. Milos wasted his opportunity on the return at 2-2 in the decider before creating two more break chances two games later.
Staying calm, Federer erased them with winners and kept his service games safe until the tie break. After squandering his opportunities, Milos sprayed a massive forehand error at 4-5 in the breaker. Roger earned a match point and seized it with a return winner that sent him into the third round.