Madrid Flashback: Roger Federer tops Milos Raonic in clash of titans

Roger Federer won his first match on blue clay against a dangerous rival in 2012

by Jovica Ilic
Madrid Flashback: Roger Federer tops Milos Raonic in clash of titans

After three notable results in Caja Magica between 2009 and 2011, Roger Federer was ready for another good run on Madrid's unique blue clay in 2012. The 3rd seed faced a tricky rival in the opening match and had to give his everything to prevail and remain on the title course.

Roger battled against Milos Raonic on the fast and slippery surface and scored a tight 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 triumph in two hours and 14 minutes for a place in the last 16. Milos won four points more than Roger, playing better behind the first and second serve and creating four times more break chances!

The young Canadian had 46 winners and 26 unforced errors, throwing everything he had in his arsenal at Roger and having the upper hand on the court. Still, he converted only one out of eight break chances to plague his chances.

Raonic fell in the deciding set's tie break to propel Federer through despite facing only two break chances in the entire encounter! There was nothing to separate two great servers on the fast clay in the opening eight games, locking the result at 4-4 after just 24 minutes and offering no chances to the returners.

Roger Federer had to dig deep against Milos Raonic in Madrid 2012.

That 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 get himself out of jail. The Swiss served better until the 11th game when he offered more opportunities to the Canadian.

Federer denied a break point to remain on the positive side and avoid an inevitable defeat. That gave Roger 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, with two more break chances up for grabs two games later. Federer stayed calm and erased them with winners, keeping his service games safe until the tie break.

After squandering his opportunities, Milos sprayed a massive forehand error at 4-5 in the breaker. He offered Roger two match points and witnessed a return winner from the Swiss that carried the legend through.

Roger Federer Milos Raonic