Raonic Upsets Federer in Brisbane, Djokovic and Wawrinka off to winning starts in Doha and Chennai
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Milos Raonic scored his second career win over Roger Federer, as the Canadian upset the Swiss legend 6-4 6-4 in Brisbane. Federer was suffering from the flu this week, and it showed, even though he reached the final. Raonic had that extra edge when needed to hold serve and grab a break in both sets, and he’s continuing to improve his bid for the top 10 with his 8th career ATP title.
Raonic needed three sets over Ivan Dodig, but his straight set wins over Lucas Pouille, and Bernard Tomic prepared him well for the final. Not much is new with Raonic’s game, but when he serves and returns as well as he did this week, he’s hard to stop.
A flu ravaged Federer still played well against Tobias Kamke, slipped past Grigor Dimitrov in three sets, and handled Dominic Thiem in straights. Dimitrov choked under pressure, while a subdued Federer was somewhat more aggressive than usual.
Henri Kontinen and John Peers beat Aussies Chris Guccione and James Duckworth in the doubles final.
Novak Djokovic will head into the Australian Open as a heavy favorite after his blistering warm-up run in Doha. The Serbian superstar and world #1 won his sixth consecutive tournament dating back to last season, and captured his first ever title in Doha with a thumping 6-1 6-2 win over Rafael Nadal. Djokovic has owned Nadal in recent years, and though the Spaniard played well before the final, he could only watch in awe as his game was dismantled from the start, later going on to compliment Djokovic’s performance.
Novak beat Dustin Brown, Fernando Verdasco, Leonardo Mayer, and Tomas Berdych as well this week, all without dropping a set, as he was rarely tested in Qatar.
Nadal lost his third ATP final in a row, but he still clawed his way past Pablo Carreno Busta in three sets, Robin Haase, Andrey Kuznetsov, and first time ATP semifinalist Illya Marchenko in the semifinals. Marchenko had the run of his life this week, scoring wins over David Ferrer, Teymuraz Gabashvili, and Jeremy Chardy with sharp, powerful baseline play. Things appear to be on the upswing for both players, and Nadal appears to be improving on hard courts.
The Lopez brothers, Feliciano and Marc, beat Philipp Petzschener and Alexander Peya in the doubles final.
Stan Wawrinka won his fourth ATP Chennai title (third in a row) with a resounding win over first time ATP finalist Borna Coric 6-3 7-5. We’ll be seeing more from Coric, as the 19 year old won three setters over Marcel Granollers, Roberto Bautista Agut, and improving semifinalist Aljaz Bedene. He also beat Austin Krajicek in round 2 this week.
Wawrinka was simply the toast of the town with routine straight set wins over Andrey Rublev, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, and Benoit Paire before the final. He too looks to be a threat heading into the Australian Open as well, and could challenge Djokovic like he has in the past in Melbourne.
Oliver March and Fabrice Martin defeated Krajicek/Paire in the doubles final.