Date: 15 October 2020
Tournament: St. Petersburg Open 2020
Round: Second round (Round of 16)
Venue: St. Petersburg, Russia
Category: ATP 500
Surface: Indoor hardcourt
Prize money: $1,243,790
Match timing: Approx. 8.30 pm Moscow Standard Time, 11 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | India - Sony Six
Milos Raonic vs Alexander Bublik preview
Sixth seed Milos Raonic will lock horns against the mercurial Alexander Bublik in the second round of the 2020 St. Petersburg Open on Thursday. This promises to be an enthralling contest given the explosive game of both players.
Raonic started his campaign in the European hardcourt swing with a straight-sets win over J.J. Wolf. The big-serving Canadian looked close to his Cincinnati self - where he made the finals - during the match, which would have been a welcome relief given his inconsistent form over the last month and a half.
Against Wolf, Raonic did face some difficulties in the first set, where he had to save five set points. But the former St. Petersburg champion held his nerve and took the ensuing tiebreak before romping home in the second.
Raonic’s gigantic serve worked wonders for him in the match, as evidenced by the 21 aces he hammered down. What would have pleased him even more though is that he found a good amount of success on his second serve too.
Alexander Bublik meanwhile hit 25 aces against Mackenzie McDonald, but still got broken twice. Moreover, he could break his opponent’s serve just once throughout the match. Needless to say, the Kazakh will have to improve his return game considerably to stand a chance against the mighty serve of Raonic.
Alexander Bublik has played in six tournaments (before St. Petersburg) since the resumption of the tour, losing in the first round at Cincinnati, US Open, Italian Open and Generali Open. His best result came on the clay courts of Hamburg, where he managed to make the quarterfinals.
Milos Raonic vs Alexander Bublik head-to-head
This will be the first match on tour between Milos Raonic and Alexander Bublik, and so their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Milos Raonic vs Alexander Bublik prediction
This match is expected to have very few long rallies, and lots of quickly played points.
Both Milos Raonic and Alexander Bublik have a big serve with which they can get a lot of free points. That said, Raonic is a lot more consistent on his delivery than the Kazakh, and should dominate his service games with a lot more ease.
The Canadian would have to be wary of the well-disguised underarm serve that is often employed by Bublik. But what makes Bublik a particularly dangerous customer is his ability to strike winners at will from the back of the court.
That said, in terms of power and quality of groundstrokes, Raonic is arguably the superior player. The Canadian also has the tactical nous to make Bublik pay for his often over-aggressive game.
Prediction: Milos Raonic to win in straight sets.