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Raonic vs Kecmanovic ATP Indian Wells live streaming, preview and tips - Raonic targets fourth Indian Wells semi-final against teenage lucky loser

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 14 Mar 2019
  • Milos Raonic vs Miomir Kecmanovic is live from Indian Wells at 1.00pm local time on Thursday (8.00pm GMT)
  • Raonic won their only previous clash in the second round of Brisbane this year
Milos Raonic (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Former World No. 3 Milos Raonic will be looking to reach his fourth Indian Wells semi-final on Thursday when he takes on teenage lucky loser Miomir Kecmanovic in the quarter-finals.

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Milos Raonic has made it to at least the semi-finals in Indian Wells Masters in his last three appearances at the tournament, including finishing runner-up in 2016 - can he make it four when he faces 19-year-old lucky loser Miomir Kecmanovic in the quarter-finals on Thursday?

Draws have had a habit of opening up for Raonic over the last couple of seasons, and the big-serving Canadian is once again taking advantage in Indian Wells, advancing to the quarter-finals without having to face another seeded player. First up for Raonic was a solid 7-6(1) 6-4 victory over Sam Querrey, but he was pushed to the brink in the third round against qualifier Marcos Giron - who incidentally beat Kecmanovic in qualifying - as the American took the first set and opened up a break lead in the decider before Raonic’s experience took over and helped him to a 4-6 6-4 6-4 win. The former Wimbledon runner-up then avenged a three-set loss to Jan-Lennard Struff in Dubai a couple of weeks ago in the fourth round, beating the German 6-4 6-3 to reach another quarter-final in the Coachella Valley.

Raonic has made it to the latter stages of a lot of big tournaments over the last couple of years, including the semi-finals of Indian wells and Miami last year, along with quarter-finals at Wimbledon and Cincinnati, the fourth round of the U.S. Open and earlier this season when he made the last eight at the Australian Open. However, the only top 10 player he was forced to beat during that run was Alexander Zverev in Melbourne this year, the German who is still yet to master Grand Slams. Raonic has barely even beaten top 20 players in those tournaments, so while that form line may be a little misleading, he’s still been the man to step up and take advantage, something other players have obviously failed to do.

It’s an illustration of where Raonic and his game is at right now - he’s playing well enough in the significant tournaments to take care of those ranked below him, but when push comes to shove against the better or more in-form players, he’s still operating at a class below. In saying that, Raonic has still done an excellent job of working his way back up the rankings after falling to as low as No. 35 last season, arriving in Indian Wells at No. 14. The Canadian began the season with that aforementioned big win over Zverev to make the Australian Open quarter-finals, but he would have been severely disappointed with his lacklustre showing against Lucas Pouille, which resulted in a four-set loss to the Frenchman and a missed opportunity to reach the semi-finals.

Raonic would go on to lose in the second round of Rotterdam to Stan Wawrinka and the first round of Dubai to Struff, defeats that signal he’s still a far cry off his best tennis, but he’s simply doing what he needs to do in Indian Wells this week - and it’s propelled him to back to the quarter-finals, where a teenager who had never played a main draw match in Indian Wells before this week awaits.

Miomir Kecmanovic (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
If you believe Raonic has had a fortunate draw en route to the quarter-finals, then wait to you see Miomir Kecmanovic’s path to his first Masters 1000 quarter-final. As mentioned, Kecmanovic lost in the final round of qualifying to Marcos Giron, but he gained the third and final lucky loser spot after Kevin Anderson withdrew injured. The Serbian took the sixth seeds spot in the draw as a result, earning a bye into the second round before beating Maximilian Marterer and Rio champion Laslo Djere in straight sets, along with benefitting from a retirement by Yoshihito Nishioka in the fourth round. Nishioka had earlier fought through a gruelling battle with rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime to prevail in a deciding set tiebreaker, and unfortunately for him, his back was troubling him and forced him to retire after Kecmanovic won the first set 6-4.

Now, sensationally, Kecmanovic is into the quarter-finals of Indian Wells having only previously won one tour-level match in his career before the last week. That victory came in the opening week of the season, when he overcame Leonardo Mayer in the first round of Brisbane before he ironically went down to Raonic in the second round. The 19-year-old went on to qualify for his first Grand Slam main draw at the Australian Open (lost to Verdasco in R1) and made the quarter-finals of the Newport Beach Challenger, but his form coming into Indian Wells wasn’t too flash - he lost in the third round of Cleveland, retired in his first match in Dallas and lost his opener at the Indian Wells Oracle Challenger to Kamil Majchrzak.

Kecmanovic enjoyed a glistening junior career, finishing 2016 at No. 1 in the world (ahead of the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime), and finished runner-up at the U.S. Open that season. The Serbian went on to improve his ranking 600 spots over the course of the 2017 season, jumping from the 800s to the 200s, while he’s been steadily building over the last season, winning his first Challenger in Suzhou towards the end of 2018, while he captured his second in Shenzhen at the end of last season, along with finishing runner-up in Liuzhou.

Set to make his top 100 debut next week (currently ranked No. 130), can Kecmanovic continue his dream run in Indian Wells? Probably not in my opinion. Raonic is a nightmare match-up for lower-ranked players - the Canadian obviously serves brilliantly, making it near impossible to break, but his return game is also strong enough to put pressure on his opponents. For a player as inexperienced at his level as Kecmanovic, that can prove daunting, especially if he drops serve early in sets. Kecmanovic will surely get many more opportunities at this level in the future, but Raonic’s somewhat fortuitous Indian Wells campaign looks set to continue into the semi-finals.

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Raonic vs Kecmanovic ATP Indian Wells live streaming, preview and tips - Raonic targets fourth Indian Wells semi-final against teenage lucky loser

Former World No. 3 Milos Raonic will be looking to reach his fourth Indian Wells semi-final on Thursday when he takes on teenage lucky loser Miomir Kecmanovic in the quarter-finals.

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