The night match on Sunday starting at not before 8pm in the UK will feature a Paris rematch between Milos Raonic and Roger Federer. I’m excited because I have tickets for this match :-). The pair played in the quarter-finals of Bercy with Raonic snapping a six match losing streak to stun Federer in straight sets, 7-6(5) 7-5. Raonic had plenty to play for and earnt his spot at the World Tour Finals by virtue of that win and Kei Nishikori surviving another three set thriller against David Ferrer. There hasn’t been a great deal of support for Milos, but the Canadian player has a good shot in this group, having beaten all three opponents in 2014.
It’s been a year of steady progression for Raonic. He reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final at the French Open and then went one better at Wimbledon, reaching the semi-finals. Raonic also won the biggest title of his career in Washington, an ATP 500 tournament. On the other side of the net, Federer has had an excellent year. He wasn’t able to win the elusive 18th Grand Slam but in comparison to 2013 where he struggled with injuries, it’s been a superb year. Federer has judged his schedule smartly this year; in my opinion, he has reaped the benefits from taking a full off-season and not playing any exhibitions at the end of 2013. Up to Toronto, Federer was 2-6 in finals; however Roger has really come through in the second half of the year, reaching three finals and winning them all to take his tally in 2014 to five titles. This has included two Masters 1000 victories in Cincy and Shanghai.
This wouldn’t have been a particularly engaging match-up had it been for Raonic’s victory in Paris. Federer comfortably defeated Raonic at Wimbledon (6-4 6-4 6-4) and Cincy (6-2 6-3) in their previous clashes in 2014. Raonic lacked belief and any real purpose in those matches so it was impressive to see him record his first win over Federer last week. Raonic is coming into the tournament with confidence, but also likely some nerves, having never competed at the World Tour Finals. The O2 crowd is normally a very pro-Federer crowd (even more than usual) and I think the world number two will be out for revenge.
Prediction: Federer d. Raonic in 2 sets