Novak Djokovic struggled physically in his semifinal and the US Open looms – but he’s a perfect 10-0 against his…
Novak Djokovic struggled physically in his semifinal and the US Open looms – but he’s a perfect 10-0 against his Cincinnati-New York Masters final opponent Milos Raonic.
Novak Djokovic vs Milos Raonic | ATP Cincinnati-New York Masters final | 1pm local/6pm BST
Recommended BetDjokovic 2-0 21/20 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
Djokovic vs Raonic is live from New York on Saturday 29 August, 1pm local/6pm BST
Djokovic narrowly prevailed in a topsy-turvy, three-hour clash with Roberto Bautista Agut on Friday which saw both men serve for the match before a tie-break was required to settle it. Afterwards the world no. 1 was apparently not well enough to speak to the media.
With Djokovic’s first-round match at the US Open coming up on Monday, will the world no. 1 have energy to spend on facing Milos Raonic in the Western & Southern Open final – or is this the best opportunity Raonic will ever have to beat Djokovic after ten defeats at the hands of the Serb?
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
How to watch Djokovic vs Raonic live
Western & Southern Open matches including Novak Djokovic vs Milos Raonic are streamed live alongside odds and in-play betting at bet365.
Djokovic vs Raonic: Head-to-head
Djokovic is a perfect 10-0 against Raonic and has beaten him in two previous Masters 1000 Series finals (Paris 2014 and Indian Wells 2016; Raonic got a combined seven games in both finals). Their most recent match was at the Australian Open in January when Djokovic won 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(1).
Djokovic has won 24 of the 26 sets the two have played.
Djokovic vs Raonic: Preview
Djokovic is now a perfect, unbeaten 22-0 in 2020, but with the possible exception of the five-set Australian Open final against Dominic Thiem which saw Djokovic win his eighth title in Melbourne, I’m not sure any of those 21 other matches have been as dramatic as his win over Roberto Bautista Agut on Friday.
Bautista Agut had won their last three hard-court matches and produced a very, very good performance, hammering the ball so flat from the baseline, chasing down everything and really dictating play while Djokovic was often reduced to trying everything to break up Bautista Agut’s rhythm. Djokovic did not have a strong serving day and he dropped the first set to Bautista Agut 4-6; during the second set he had the doctor and physio visit him on court several times, giving him medications and treating his neck (Djokovic had withdrawn from the doubles at the start of the week due to neck pain, but said a couple of days ago it was close to painless).
Djokovic took a 4-1 lead in the second set, only for Bautista Agut to break back in a seven-minute game that left Djokovic sprawling on the court. After Djokovic held for 5-4, there was a pause in play while the roof was closed due to imminent rain; when play resumed, Bautista Agut was promptly broken and the match levelled.
Furious at the timing of the roof closure, Bautista Agut broke to lead 2-1; Djokovic broke back and surged to 4-2, then served for the match only to be broken. Bautista Agut then served for the match, but with his back against the wall, Djokovic produced a flawless returning game, then played an extraordinarily good tie-break, landing an ace on each of his three serves and winning the tie-break 7-0.
Djokovic said afterwards that he didn’t know how he had won the match and that nothing in his game or his body had felt right; afterwards the ATP announced that Djokovic had felt worse after the match and that the medical team had advised him not to do press. With a confirmed Monday first-round match at the US Open, and a significant player meeting in New York on Saturday, one must wonder whether Djokovic will be fit to play the final.
Milos Raonic, meanwhile, had rolled into the fourth Masters 1000 Series final of his career (but first since 2016) some hours earlier, saving a set point in the first set against Stefanos Tsitsipas before edging it in a tie-break and dominating the second. Raonic has been so often injured and struggled for momentum over the past couple of years, his ranking consequently slipping, that it’s easy to forget just how good he is. Stringing more than a few matches together has been challenging for the past few years, but he’s playing and swinging freely in ‘Cincinnati’ this week. And yet he’s come in with form as strong against Djokovic before and been beaten – ten times in fact. If Djokovic takes the court, the best returner of all time should get the win.