Competing in his first match on the blue clay at Madrid 2012, 3rd seed and former champion Roger Federer had to work hard to escape early elimination. Facing a tough opponent on the fast and slippery surface, the Swiss beat Milos Raonic 4-6 7-5 7-6 in two hours and 14 minutes to advance to the third round and kick off the fight for the title.
Milos won four more points than Roger and played better with first and second serve to create four times as many break chances. The young Canadian threw 46 winners and 26 unforced errors, throwing everything he had in his arsenal at Roger and having the upper hand on the court.
However, Milos only converted one of eight break point opportunities to spoil his chances. He failed in the deciding tie break to propel Federer even though he only had two break chances in the entire match. There was nothing to separate two great servers in the first eight games as they leveled the score at 4-4 after just 24 minutes and offered no chances to returning players.
Everything changed in the ninth game, when Federer made a forehand error and suffered a break out of nowhere. He put Milos 5-4 ahead and allowed the Canadian to hold serve for 6-4 after 31 minutes. In the first game of the second set, Roger fended off three break chances with service winners to stay in touch.
He served better until the eleventh game, when he fended off a break chance to stay on the positive side and avoid a loss.
Jannik Sinner talks about Federer
During an interaction with Eurosport, young Italian player Jannik Sinner professed his admiration for Roger Federer.
"If I could wake up and be another tennis player for a day, I would like to be Roger Federer. He can do everything. He has all the solutions in the world on the court," Sinner said. Sinner added that he wanted to be a more complete player with more shots in his arsenal.
"That's my goal more than anything else: to become a slightly different player, to become more complete. Which doesn't mean you'll see me serve and volley or just slice; but maybe, one day, in a match, if there was a need, I would like to be able to find myself in the situation of being ready, of being able to rely on such solutions as well," he added.