The two big servers with ferocious forehands have met each other five times so far, with the Canadian edging the head to head record 3-2. It is interesting to note that it was the American who had won their first two encounters, but Raonic has won their last three matches.
Of the three hard court matches between them, it is Raonic again who leads the head to head record by winning two of those. In fact, their most recent match was at the quarter final stage of the BNP Paribas Open last year. Thanks to a steep dip in Querrey’s ranking since then, they are meeting at such an initial stage of the tournament.
Querrey’s form has not been great so far. He began the year by losing in the second round at Sydney international to Gilles Simon. He followed that up with a first round exit at the Australian Open.
As the sixth seed, he reached the semi-finals of the New York Open, but then went on to lose in the second round at Acapulco. Though he won his first match at Indian Wells, the performance was far from impressive.
In three tight sets, he got the better of the unheralded Matteo Berrettini. In fact, he won nine points less than his opponent in the match, and got broken four times to the three that he managed on the Italian’s serve.
In the second round, he will have to perform much better, especially on his serve, because he is unlikely to get many opportunities to break the big serving Canadian’s serve. However, what evens out the match a bit is that Raonic too has not been in the very best of form.
After two back to back quarter final showings at Brisbane and the Australian Open, he has lost early in his next two tournaments, at Rotterdam and Dubai. So, he too is not coming to Indian Wells full of confidence.
But as things stand now, Raonic does come across as the favourite, though not an overwhelming one, by any stretch of imagination.
Prediction: Milos Raonic to win in 3 SetsPublished 09 Mar 2019, 14:08 IST