Fed Faces Canadian Cannon

Image courtesy of hearldsun.com.au, AP Photo/Osama Faisal
Roger Federer has passed the 4th round his last nine Australian Opens. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Osama Faisal/AP
Milos Raonic has never advanced beyond the fourth round of an Australian Open; Roger Federer hasn’t been knocked out before the semi-finals at Melbourne Park since 2003. But not since 2009, when he fought back to win from two sets to love down against Tomas Berdych, has Federer faced such a dangerous opponent at this stage of the tournament.

The pair met three times in 2012, and while the Swiss superstar progressed on every occasion, Raonic pushed him the distance every time. They met once on hardcourt at the Masters event in Indian Wells where Federer won 6-7 6-2 6-4. In fact, in all three contests the Canadian won the first set – twice in a tie-break – before Federer closed the match out in three.

After going down to Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets in his first match at the Brisbane International, Raonic looked rusty in defeats to Lleyton Hewitt and Fabio Fognini at the Kooyong Classic. But after almost handing the opening set of his first round Australian Open match to 104th-ranked Jan Hajek, the big-serving Canuck has been on a tear, taking out his next nine sets. He was particularly impressive in disposing of 17th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber in three sets in the third round.

Federer stepped up a gear against Bernard Tomic last start, producing some first-class tennis to overcome the young Australian 6-4 7-6 6-1 . The 17-time Grand Slam winner has a strong record against tall players with cannon-like serves across his career. Federer has a 22-4 head-to-head lead over the recently-retired Andy Roddick, 14-3 against Ivan Ljubicic, while he has lost just once to Ivo Karlovic and John Isner in 11 and five matches, respectively.  Providing he can handle Raonic's bullets, he should progress to the final eight.

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