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US Open 2020: Milos Raonic vs Leonardo Mayer preview, head-to-head & prediction

Milos Raonic at the Western & Southern Open 2020
Milos Raonic at the Western & Southern Open 2020
Namit Kumar
ANALYST
Modified 01 Sep 2020
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Match details

Fixture: Milos Raonic vs Leonardo Mayer

Date: 1 September 2020

Tournament: US Open 2020

Round: First round (Round of 128)

Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York, USA

Category: Grand Slam

Surface: Outdoor hardcourt

Prize money: $39,024,000

Match timing: 3 PM EDT, 12:30 AM IST

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Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN | India - Star Sports / Hotstar

Milos Raonic vs Leonardo Mayer preview

Leonardo Mayer at the 2020 Australian Open
Leonardo Mayer at the 2020 Australian Open

World No. 18 Milos Raonic looks to get his US Open campaign off to a winning start as he faces Argentina's Leonardo Mayer in the first round in New York on Tuesday.

Raonic has been in excellent form on either side of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian player reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in January, defeating Cristian Garin, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Marin Cilic on the way. He also reached the semifinal at Delray Beach in February.

The 29-year-old came into the Cincinnati Masters in New York having not stepped on to the court since Delray Beach. His good form, however, carried into the tournament as he reached the final, defeating the likes of Andy Murray and Filip Krajinovic before easing past Stefanos Tsitsipas for the second time this year.

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In the final against Novak Djokovic, Raonic took the first set 6-1. However, he couldn't maintain his level while Djokovic raised his, and the Canadian eventually lost 6-1 3-6 4-6.

Milos Raonic's opponent on Tuesday, World No. 120 Leonardo Mayer, has been in diametrically opposite form this year. The Argentine hasn't won a single match since the Auckland qualifiers in the first week of January. He bowed out in his first match at the Australian Open, and also in Cordoba, Buenos Aires, Rio and Santiago.

The match against Raonic is set to be Mayer's first since the lockdown.

Milos Raonic vs Leonardo Mayer head-to-head

Milos Raonic at the 2015 Mutua Madrid Open
Milos Raonic at the 2015 Mutua Madrid Open

The meeting in New York is the second between the two players, with Milos Raonic leading the head-to-head 1-0 after a straight-sets win five years ago.

The Canadian prevailed 6-4 6-3 against Leonardo Mayer in the third round of the 2015 Madrid Masters. He was relatively unfazed throughout the match, hammering down nine aces and not conceding a single break of serve.

Milos Raonic vs Leonardo Mayer preview

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Milos Raonic at the Western & Southern Open 2020
Milos Raonic at the Western & Southern Open 2020

Given their respective form, previous history and difference in rankings, it is hard to imagine anything but a Milos Raonic win on Tuesday. The Canadian's excellent form in Cincinnati shows that his hard-hitting style of tennis - which is heavily reliant on his serve - is massively effective at Flushing Meadows.

On the other hand, Leonardo Mayer's 2020 form will not inspire any confidence for his first round match in New York. It is far more likely for the Argentine to have a resurgence on his favored surface of clay later this month.

Still, if he is to cause an upset, Mayer's big serve will have to match up to that of Raonic. The Argentine will also look to slow down Raonic's rhythm with strong returns, something most of his opponents struggled with last week.

Prediction: Milos Raonic to win in straight sets.

Published 01 Sep 2020, 11:26 IST
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