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Milos Raonic vs Tomas Berdych ATP Stuttgart Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Raonic and Berdych meet in big-serving quarter final

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 14 Jun 2018
  • Milos Raonic vs Tomas Berdych is live from Stuttgart on Friday, 15 June from 1:00pm local time/ 12:00pm BST
  • Raonic leads 5-3 on head-to-head; first meeting on grass
Milos Raonic. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

Milos Raonic and Tomas Berdych meet in a big-serving contest at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart on Friday, with a spot in the semi-finals up for grabs.
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For all the danger that Raonic poses on grass, he has never won a title on the surface, with his best results being runner-up finishes at Queen’s and Wimbledon, both in 2016. Raonic went on to finish 2016 ranked No. 3 in the world, and seemingly set for a long stay in the world’s top ten. However, the Canadian has struggled for fitness since then, and has slid out of the world’s top 30. The 27-year-old was first bothered by a hamstring problem at the start of last year; he then suffered a wrist injury which required surgery, before picking up a calf problem in Tokyo in what proved to be his last act of 2017.

Raonic got off to a slow, rusty start in 2018, losing his opening matches in Brisbane and the Australian Open, and falling in the second round at Delray Beach, but he found some form at Indian Wells and Miami, where he reached semi-finals and quarter finals respectively, beaten by Juan Martin del Potro in both tournaments. His injury woes struck again in Monte Carlo, where he pulled out of a Round of 16 meeting with Marin Cilic with a knee injury, while he subsequently withdrew from the French Open because of the same problem. 

Making his return on the grass courts of Stuttgart, the former Wimbledon finalist defeated Mirza Basic in the opening round, before easing past Hungarian, Marton Fucsovics in the second round on Thursday. It was a typically explosive performance from Raonic, who send down 19 aces, won over 80% of points on both his first and second serves, and did not face a single break point in the 51-minute exercise- just what the doctor ordered given his recent injury problems.

"It's never easy on grass. Obviously the one important thing for me was I held my serve pretty routinely throughout the match. That puts a lot of pressure on my opponent so when I do get a few chances, they feel a lot more difficult for him because it could be the end of that set," Raonic said. "I'm doing things well. I'm happy with the way I'm playing, and I hope I can continue this way." 

The Canadian next faces Czech veteran, Tomas Berdych, who snapped a five-match losing streak with his opening round victory over Benoit Paire on Thursday. 

Berdych is looking to win consecutive matches for the first time since February, when he reached his only semi-final of the season so far in Marseille. 

Tomas Berdych. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
The 32-year-old had shown encouraging form at the Australian Open, when he beat Juan Martin del Potro and Fabio Fognini in straight sets before falling to Roger Federer in the quarter finals; and followed it up with a quarter final in Rotterdam, and semi in Marseille, but there has been nothing to shout about since then. He reached the third round at Indian Wells and Miami, before losing tournament openers in Monte Carlo, Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros, where he was beaten by Jeremy Chardy.

The former top-ten mainstay, who now sits at 19 in the world, may not be the consistent force he once used to be, but with his smooth big-hitting, he remains a very dangerous player when on song, on grass, where he made his only Grand Slam final so far in 2010. Berdych also reached the semi-finals in each of the last two seasons, once again highlighting his potency on this surface.

Back on grass in Stuttgart, Berdych took out Paire in his opening match, sending down 8 aces and saving the only break point he faced in a 7-6 6-4 victory. Berdych missed a set point in the first set before dominating the tie break, and he got the only break of the second set midway through the set, converting his fifth break point of the game to assume full control of the match. Paire briefly rallied towards the end, creating his only break point of the match as Berdych served for a spot in the last eight, but the Czech fended off that problem before taking the match on his fourth match point.

Berdych reached the quarter finals in Stuttgart last year, losing to Feliciano Lopez- can he go one step further this year by beating Raonic in the quarters?

Berdych is at a disadvantage on the head-to-head, with Raonic leading the series 5-3. Raonic has served very well this week, and that will again be the key shot on Friday. If the Canadian gets that shot firing, and holds with ease, his opponent will be under pressure to hang on to his own serves, which may then create opportunities for Raonic. That said, Berdych is no slouch from the line, and he may need all his prowess in that department to stay with Raonic, and possibly take this into tie breaks, like he did in their most recent meeting in Lyon last season when he won 7-6 7-6. This one could be equally tight, but Raonic, on a grass court, has the edge for me!

Milos Raonic vs Tomas Berdych is live from Stuttgart on Friday, 15 June from 1:00pm local time/ 12:00pm BST

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Milos Raonic vs Tomas Berdych ATP Stuttgart Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Raonic and Berdych meet in big-serving quarter final

Milos Raonic and Tomas Berdych meet in the quarter finals on Stuttgart on Friday. Which of these big servers will reach the last four? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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