Fixture: Milos Raonic vs Dusan Lajovic
Date: 17 September 2020
Tournament: Italian Open 2020
Round: Second round (Round of 32)
Venue: Rome, Italy
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €3,465,045
Match timing: 12.30 pm CEST, 4 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN | India - Sony Six
Milos Raonic vs Dusan Lajovic preview
The Canadian put up a serving master-class in the previous round against Adrian Mannarino, and will be hoping that his main weapon fires again against Lajovic. The latter too put up an impressive performance against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in his first round match.
Before Rome, Lajovic had been on a three-match losing streak in main draws. However, he has snapped that with arguably one of his best results all year.
It is no secret that the Serb enjoys playing on the slow surface of clay, as it benefits his heavy baseline groundstrokes. Lajovic also likes to hit the kick serve, returning which is tricky when the ball bounces way above the shoulder.
Milos Raonic meanwhile has been in stellar form since tennis restarted, having made the finals at the Cincinnati Masters. It seems like he has carried forward that form to clay as well, given how he outplayed Mannarino.
Not only did Raonic utterly dominate his service games but he also returned at a very high level, giving absolutely no breathing space to the Frenchman.
That said, Lajovic will be a far greater challenge to Raonic. The Serb has a final appearance at a clay ATP 1000 event (Mote Carlo, 2019) - something that Raonic has not been able to achieve till date.
Milos Raonic vs Dusan Lajovic head-to-head
Milos Raonic leads Dusan Lajovic 1-0 in the head-to-head. They faced each other at Cincinnati in 2018, with the Canadian winning 6-3, 6-3.
Milos Raonic vs Dusan Lajovic prediction
Dusan Lajovic is something of a giant-killer when it comes to clay. The Serb has defeated the likes of Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev and Juan Martin del Potro on the surface in recent times, and he will be no pushover even when pitted against the enormous firepower of Milos Raonic.
Lajovic strikes his return from well behind the baseline, and he would be expected to do the same against the booming serve of Raonic. The Canadian will have to be especially wary of Lajovic’s movement on this surface, which allows him to retrieve a good number of shots.
The key for Raonic will be to try and attack his opponent’s second serve and forehand. Going at pace to the Serb’s backhand could only result in him dealing with a lot of crosscourt returns at an uncomfortable height.
Lajovic can take this the distance, but Raonic’s superior serve will most likely see him through.
Prediction: Milos Raonic to win in three sets.Published 16 Sep 2020, 16:23 IST