Milos Raonic earned his first win against Andy Murray in more than six years on Tuesday evening, snapping an eight-match losing streak against the former World No. 1 with a 6-2, 6-2 victory in the third round of the Western & Southern Open.
In a battle of former Top 5 players, Raonic stormed through the first set before play was suspended at 6:18 p.m. local time due to torrential rain. About an hour and a half later, Raonic broke in the first game after the resumption and never looked back. He advanced to the quarter-finals after one hour and 29 minutes.
In the first tournament since play was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March, Raonic has picked up where he left off. The 29-year-old reached the semi-finals of his most recent event at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com, and he also made the Australian Open quarter-finals (l. to Djokovic).
The quick courts of Flushing Meadows are helping Raonic, who crushed 10 aces and won 88 per cent of his first-serve points. The World No. 30 has won all 27 of his service games this week and saved each of the five break points he has faced.
Murray, who underwent his second hip surgery after last year’s Australian Open, showed vintage form on Monday to beat 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev in three gruelling sets. But the big-serving Raonic kept the Brit from finding much rhythm, winning all eight of his service games.
Murray looked sharp in the early rallies against Zverev, mixing up paces and outmaneouvring the German. But his baseline game was not as crisp against Raonic. The wild card dumped an inside-out forehand into the net at 2-2 in the first set to give the former World No. 3 the early break, a sign of things to come. Raonic kept Murray, one of the best returners of this generation, from getting solid strikes on his returns by using his power and mixing up locations.
The key moment came at 3-2 in the second set, when Murray earned his only two break points. Raonic shrugged off the first with a swinging forehand volley and the second with a low volley.
Raonic hadn’t beaten Murray since the 2014 BNP Paribas Open. The pair’s most recent battle came at the 2016 Nitto ATP Finals, where Murray saved a match point to beat the Canadian 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-6(9), keeping his year-end No. 1 dreams alive.