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Milos Raonic vs Jack Sock Delray Beach Open tennis live: Raonic looks to claim first title in over a year

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 26 Feb 2017
  • Milos Raonic vs Jack Sock is live from Delray Beach at 3.00pm local time on Sunday (8.00pm GMT)
  • Raonic leads H2H 8-2 - but Sock won their last meeting
Milos Raonic (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Milos Raonic will be aiming for his first title in over a year when he squares off against Jack Sock for the Delray Beach Open silverware on Sunday.




Having failed to add any trophies to his Brisbane International title from January for the remainder of 2016, Milos Raonic will be determined to break a three-match losing run in finals in Delray Beach. The big-serving Canadian, who is playing Delray Beach for the first time this week, will take on Jack Sock in the final, with the American looking to capture his second ATP title of the season after beginning 2017 with a glorious triumph in Auckland.

Playing his first tournament since suffering a quarter-final loss to Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open, Raonic hasn’t been at his brilliant best this week in Delray Beach, but he’s been solid enough in reaching the final. Two straight sets victories over Tim Smyczek and Borna Coric was followed by a tougher-than-expected challenge in the quarter-finals from Kyle Edmund, with Raonic coming from a set down to prevail in a hard-fought three-set battle.

A blockbuster semi-final showdown with the returning Juan Martin del Potro then followed in Saturday’s semi-finals. However Raonic raised his level from earlier in the week, and for the most part, he played the perfect match against the Argentine - although their was a blip at the end that threatened to overturn all his good work. Raonic served for the match at 6-5 in the second set and hadn’t faced a break point for the entire contest. But a fighting del Potro fired back and ultimately broke with a superb backhand winner down the line. Raonic then let slip of a 4-2 lead in the ensuing tiebreak as del Potro continued to force his way back into the match. However del Potro couldn’t capitalise on a set point on his own serve at 6-5, and Raonic made him pay, eventually closing out the match 6-3 7-6(6) with a trademark ace.


There were plenty of bright spots for Raonic during his career-best year in 2016, namely making the Wimbledon final and qualifying for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals and advancing to the semi-finals, where he went down in a thriller to Andy Murray but ended up finishing the year at No. 3 in the world. But without a current ATP title to his name, Raonic needs to really solidify his status as a top five player by earning a piece of silverware. He will certainly be confident having defeated his opponent in the final on eight previous occasions.



Jack Sock (Photo by PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s been a great week for Jack Sock in Delray Beach, with the Nebraska native progressing to the final without dropping a set in wins over Radu Albot, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Steve Johnson and Donald Young. Sock’s trademark serve and forehand combination was ultimately the difference as he registered a 6-4 7-6(2) victory over Young (his third straight win over his compatriot) in the semi-finals to secure his spot in the final after one hour and 32 minutes.

Sock is now 10-1 for the season after he won his second ATP title at the ASB Classic in Auckland to launch his 2017 campaign. A four-set loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round of the Australian Open is sandwiched in-between his Auckland triumph and his current run to the Delray Beach final.

“I’m definitely playing with a lot of confidence this year. I started out the season with a title, which is the most ideal situation and gives you confidence for the rest of the tournaments,” said Sock. “I feel strong mentally and physically, and like I have a clear game plan for what I’m doing out there.”

Sock has improved his year-end ranking in each of the last six seasons, and on the back of his run in Delray Beach, he will break into the top 20 for the first time when the new rankings are released on Monday.

Raonic holds a dominant 8-2 record in their H2H - however Sock won their first and last meetings, recovering from a first set bagel to win in a third set tiebreak in October’s Shanghai Rolex Masters last year. Essentially, Raonic and Sock play similar games. Both are great servers who look to play first-strike tennis with their forehands, while their backhands are their weaker wings. Raonic just does everything that little bit better than Sock, and that is why he’s a top five player and the American has only just cracked the top 20. In the high-pressure environment of a final, I expect Raonic to find the answers once again and emerge with his ninth ATP title.


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Milos Raonic vs Jack Sock Delray Beach Open tennis live: Raonic looks to claim first title in over a year

Milos Raonic will be aiming for his first title in over a year when he squares off against Jack Sock for the Delray Beach Open silverware on Sunday.

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