Raonic Beats Federer For Brisbane Title
Revenge for Raonic in Brisbane
Twelve months ago it was Federer who prevailed when the pair met in the Brisbane final, earning his 1000th match win. But Raonic made a strong statement at the start of the new season with just his second win in 11 meetings with Federer.
"It feels great," said Raonic. "It feels great considering how the past nine months have been. It adds a sort of cherry on top to all that. [The win] does great things. For myself it signifies within the team how concrete and good the work we're doing is.
"At the same time, with the difficulties I've had last year, it's maybe a good way for me to show the other guys I will face going in Melbourne that I've got my stuff back together and I can play some good tennis again."
While neither man enjoyed his greatest serving day, it was Raonic who was able to capitalise on Federer’s games. Federer fended off two break points in the fifth game and saved a third in the ninth game, but Raonic converted his fourth opportunity to take a decisive 5-4 lead in the opening set as Federer paid the price for a forehand unforced error.
Raonic left the court for a medical timeout after the third game of the second set. With his rhythm briefly disrupted on return, Federer almost took advantage of three double faults to engineer his first break. But Raonic held for 2-2 and went on to break Federer for a second time in the seventh game, closing out victory in 87 minutes.
Explaining the medical timeout, Raonic said, "Just a little bit the adductor. So just after the timeout it was a little bit hard to push off just until I got my legs going, and I think that's why [the serves] were sort of floating long on me and the last one came short on me.
"Against him it's always about who can dictate," Raonic continued. "I felt that other than maybe one service game where I double faulted three times, I was staying quite a bit ahead on my serve and always close on his, except for one that I lost at love. I felt like most of the other ones I was getting to 30. I was giving myself opportunities and then was able to capitalise twice."
The 25-year-old Raonic is looking to put behind him a frustrating 2015 season, which saw him hampered by foot and back injuries after a strong start to the campaign, which had propelled him to a career-high No. 4 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
The Canadian parted ways with coach Ivan Ljubicic in the off-season and has since appointed former World No. 1 Carlos Moya, who will join with Raonic and his team, which still includes Riccardo Piatti, in Melbourne.
Ljubicic was in Federer’s box this week as the Basel native fought through a bout of flu at the start of the tournament to reach his 136th tour-level final (88-48 record). The Swiss beat Dominic Thiem in Saturday’s semi-finals to advance to his third successive Brisbane final. It is the second time he has finished runner-up, also missing out against Lleyton Hewitt in 2014.