Fixture: (1) Novak Djokovic vs Milos Raonic
Date: 14 February 2021
Tournament: Australian Open 2021
Round: Fourth round (Round of 16)
Venue: Melbourne, Australia
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: AUD $80 million
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | India - Sony Six
Novak Djokovic vs Milos Raonic preview
Top seed Novak Djokovic is gunning for his ninth Australian Open title this year. But while the Serb produced solid performances in his first two matches of the tournament, he was put through an intense test against Taylor Fritz in the third round.
Djokovic had an injury scare midway through the encounter, and looked in serious discomfort thereafter. He struggled to serve and move to his forehand side in the third and fourth sets, and took multiple medical timeouts.
The Serb eventually managed to eke out a 7-6(1), 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2 victory, but he later revealed that he might have torn his muscle in the process. When asked if he would continue playing in the tournament, Djokovic said:
"I really don’t know. Right now, I know it’s a tear, definitely, of the muscle so I don’t know if I’ll manage to recover from that in less than two days. I don’t know if I’m going to step out on the court or not. Just I am very proud of this achievement tonight. Let’s see what happens.”
Milos Raonic meanwhile kicked off his Australian Open campaign with a straight-sets win over Argentina's Federico Coria. He then beat Corentin Moutet and Márton Fucsovics in the next two rounds, taking four sets each time.
The Canadian has looked in good form so far, smacking 56 aces in just three matches.
Novak Djokovic vs Milos Raonic head-to-head
Novak Djokovic has a phenomenal record against Milos Raonic, leading their head-to-head 11-0. In fact, he has lost just four sets against the Canadian in their 11 meetings so far.
The duo have faced off in Grand Slams thrice, with the Serb winning all those matches in straight sets.
Novak Djokovic vs Milos Raonic prediction
Novak Djokovic is usually at his best on hardcourts and particularly at the Australian Open, but his injury looks concerning at the moment. Even if the Serb is able to take the court against Milos Raonic on Sunday, he might not be at 100 percent fitness.
That would give Raonic a real chance to get on the board in their rivalry and claim his first win over the Serb.
This is a tough match to predict, mainly due to Djokovic's injury issues. But if the World No. 1 manages to recover in two days' time, he should be considered the clear favorite.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in four sets.