Zverev, 20, will face John Isner for a place in the final after the American edged out Croatian Marin Cilic 7-6(3) 2-6 7-6(2).
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"It's another stepping stone in my career," Zverev told the ATP's website. "I feel like I have played very well today. I returned very well.
"So I'm happy to be in the semis and playing John tomorrow, who I know very well from our Saddlebrook (Florida) days. It's going to be a great match."
Alexander Zverev of Germany serves during his quarter final match against Milos Raonic of Canada in The Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2017 at Foro Italico on May 19, 2017 in Rome, Italy.Getty Images
In his first meeting with Raonic, Zverev twice let a break slip in the opening set, on the second occasion failing to serve out the set at 6-5. But in windy conditions he comfortably won the tiebreak and sped through the second set.
Isner served 21 aces on his way past Cilic as he became the first American to reach the semi-finals in Rome since Andy Roddick in 2008.
Results from the Italian Open men's quarter-finals
- 8-Dominic Thiem (Austria) beat 4-Rafa Nadal (Spain) 6-4 6-3
- 16-Alexander Zverev (Germany) beat 5-Milos Raonic (Canada) 7-6(4) 6-1
- John Isner (US) beat 6-Marin Cilic (Croatia) 7-6(3) 2-6 7-6(2)
Milos Raonic is a young Canadian professional tennis player. Most experts believe that he has a very bright future ahead of him as a Top10 player and I certainly agree! His trademark is a huge serve, with which he has already broken a few records!
Raonic Hitting A 150 mph serve
These serves make him one of the fastest servers of all time alongside Andy Roddick and Ivo Karlovic!
Raonic was born in 1990 in Montenegro but his family moved to Canada when he was three years old. He had a solid but not spectacular junior tennis career. He only played in a few Grand Slam junior events and never got past the second round in those. His career high junior ranking was number 35 in 2008.
His rise in the professional game took a while and came step by step. Milos Raonic started playing a few low level professional events in 2007 and 2008 but was not very successful. In 2009 he won his first professional event and finished the year inside the Top400. 2010 he improved again and finished inside the Top200.
His big breakthrough came in 2011 though. He won the 2011 SAP Open in San Jose and has continued his phenomal rise since then!
As of February 2012 he has won three ATP Tour level titles and is at a career high ranking of number 24 in the world!
Raonic is of course known for his huge serve. He also hits a big forehand though and is not afraid to come to the net as well!
Raonic’s flawless serve and forehand technique are a big reason why he is so successful. Let’s look at his strokes in detail!
The forehand is Raonic’s second big weapon after his serve of course. He hits a very good forehand with a nice high to low to high swing path and all of the other fundamentals for a good forehand are in place!
Raonic Forehands In Slow Motion
Raonic’s forehand really penetrates the court and he is able to hit a lot of winners with it. One of the reasons for that is great extension!
Looking at the slow motion shots you can see that his racket moves way out to the target before he pulls it over to the left side!
For him it is extremely important to find the right balance between the shots that he hits rather flat and the ones where he goes for more topspin!
Earlier in his career he tended to go for the flat shot a little too often which resulted in too many unforced errors. Now it appears that he knows much better when to spin the ball and when to really go for it!
Another thing that is visible in the slow motion video is that he pre-stretches the forearm muscles by laying the wrist back very late in the swing. This is a key concept for great forehands and I will write more about this in the technique section in the future
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Milos seems to hit a solid backhand. Unfortunately, I was not able to find much slow motion video of his backhand yet and therefore it is a bit tough to analyze it. He certainly has good grips with both hands but there are also a few possible issues that I see with his backhand. I will update this once I get to look at more slow motion video of his backhand
I have only seen Raonic hit a few slice backhands and it seems to be a decent but not great slice backhand. His balls appear to float a little too much but I will have to wait to analyze it in depth once more video of him hitting slice backhands is available.
Milos Raonic is not afraid to come to the net which is obviously a good thing especially at his height. From what I have seen he hits a very solid forehand volley, managing to stabilize the racket head and also keeping the motion very short and compact.
His backhand volley is a little weaker and I saw him miss quite a few in the highlights videos. It appears that his racket face is a little too open and he comes across a little too much, adding unnecessary sidespin to the shot.
The serve is obviously Raonic’s biggest weapon. He definitely has one of the biggest serves the game of Tennis has ever seen. He regularly hits his serve in the 145mph range and has gone for long periods without getting broken!
Have A Look At This Collection Of Raonic Aces!
As you can see in this video Milos has a very fluid service motion. He starts with a continental grip and then moves the racket from right to left behind his head like all great servers. The motion is very fluid and he gradually builds up speed throughout the swing.
Have A Look At His Serve In Slow Motion!
Raonic’s game plan is build around his big serve and his big forehand, which of course makes a lot of sense for him. Earlier in his career he had a tendency to go for too much too early during points but now he is capable and willing to stay in the rallies a bit longer.
Of course he still needs to try to get on offense whenever possible and come forward, which is something that he does. I do not see him serve and volley much at all on his first serve and I believe that is an element that would make him even more dangerous. Once he starts to serve and volley every now and then his opponents cannot simply try to loop that serve back from way behind the baseline anymore.
Overall a solid tactical game at this point in his career!
Milos Raonic moves exceptionally well for his height. In order to move that well with this kind of a body you need to have a lot of leg strength as well as great coordination. Raonic has been working with the Spanish former professional player Galo Blanco as well as a Spanish fitness coach since the end of 2010. The Spanish are of course known for their heavy focus on conditioning and footwork and I believe this was very important in Raonic’s development!
Milos is probably the stereotypical player of the new generation in Tennis. He is tall with a big server and big forehand but he can also move around the court and stay in long rallies!
The game is evolving obviously and we will see more players of this type in the future I am sure!
Overall his physical capabilities, including his size and strength, are some of his major assets as a tennis player!
Raonic was known to be a hothead earlier in his career but at this point he stays remarkably cool during his matches, which is one reason he is playing so successful at the moment. Nevertheless, it is still very difficult to say how tough he really is mentally and how he will react once he starts getting deep into the Grand Slams.
At this point I am not sure if he has the belief already to really perform well under big pressure in Grand Slam tournaments but I am sure that will come eventually!
Raonic’s biggest strengths on the tennis court are his size and strength in my opinion. Being able to serve that big and still move around the court really sets him apart from most other guys.
He also has great technique on his serve and his forehand. On the tactical side there is still some room for improvement and definitely on the mental side!
Milos Raonic has a very bright future ahead of him. I expect him to be a regular Top10 player over the next few years and I am sure at some point he will become a Grand Slam contender!
At this point it is still unclear how tough he is mentally though and how he can perform under intense pressure in the Grand Slams. Earlier in his career, and most likely also in his junior career, he was a bit of a hothead and it will be interesting to see whether or not that comes back in certain situations.
He could still improve a bit on the tactical side, especially by adding some surprise serve and volley attacks to his game!
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