Fans of variety tennis rejoice, Milos Raonic charged the net and aced his way through Fernando Verdasco for the second time in as many tournaments, winning San Jose in two tie-breakers on Sunday and then beating the Spaniard in the first round of Memphis 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5).
Verdasco did not say great things about the 20-year old Raonic, but it’s clear that the Canadian has his number. On the ATP Tour website, Verdasco is quoted as saying, “He was luckier than me in the tie-break. He hit the line at 5-5 with the return and then he had big options to win the match,” said Verdasco. “In San Jose he tried to make the points really quick, if I managed to return the serve he went to the net, like he did today a lot of times. Today it was tough to respond because he’s big and when he goes to the net you don’t really have a lot of space.”
It appears that Verdasco does not believe serve and volley tennis has any place in the modern game. However, Raonic is proving otherwise, continuing to win in Memphis on Thursday (today) with a splendid win over tour veteran Radek Stepanek, 6-4, 6-7(10), 7-6(1). En route to his sixth straight win, the youngster blasted 38 aces. After making the fourth round in Australia as a qualifier, Raonic is backing that result up in 2011. It will be interesting to see if he can continue his form as the bigger events come up and the pressure to produce results mounts. We hope so, as tennis needs more men to step forward and challenge the status quo of baseliners and two-handed pounders with little variety in their game.